Trees are considered as the most important contributors to the history of human existence and its development. Many human societies worship the trees as a deity till now. This is an inherent part of their tradition.
But the trees have immense scientific influence and importance more than anything else. They are the key to our survival. But, blinded by the progress toward ultra-modernism, human beings have engaged themselves in destroying these great contributors at a rapid pace. Forests are being demolished ruthlessly and nature is feeling the impact. Deforestation is the ultimate wrong step toward the progress as it unsettles the natural balance. This is possibly the greatest problem for the survival. Therefore, it is the best time to discuss and analyze the real meaning, the vital causes, the overwhelming effects, and the possible solutions to this problem.
Many people wonder about what does deforestation mean actually. The issue is clearly simple to understand. People demolish forests in order to use that piece of land for other purposes like residence, industry, business or any other use. Such large-scale devastation of the forests is considered as deforestation. About 30 percent of the earth's total land is covered with forests. So, they are vital to the natural balance. Unfortunately, deforestation is a global phenomenon. It is not limited to any particular region on this planet. Forests are being recklessly destroyed throughout the world. Recent researches have brought out some really threatening facts related to deforestation. Surveys show that the entire annual amount of deforestation can sum up to 18million acres of land. Although deforestation takes place throughout the world, the most damaged areas are those covered with tropical rainforests. Almost half of the entire rainforests has already been cleared from the world. NASA predicts that if deforestation continues at this rapid pace, there will be no signs of the rainforests within the period of coming 100years. This is really a warning and moreover, a threat to the mankind.
There are several reasons that lead to deforestation. Forests are cleared for availing more lands for housing or urbanization purposes. Paper, furniture, and construction industry also contribute greatly to this damage. Logging operations either legally or illegally cut down a countless amount of trees every year. But, the most influencing cause is agriculture and farming. People destroy forests for using that land for the agricultural purpose, or grazing their livestock. People either burn down or clearly cut down the forests. Most of these causes are related to business or money-making. But, all the causes of deforestation are not human-driven or intentional. Deforestation also happens because of some natural disasters like wildfire.
Whatever the causes are, deforestation has a huge impact on nature and the environment. It is considered as a major factor in the issue of climate change. Deforestation and climate change are closely linked. Trees store CO2 emitted to the environment from various sources. If a forest is destroyed then the CO2 storage capacity of the trees will come down simultaneously with the reduced number of trees. It does not only reduce the CO2 storage capacity but it also results in a huge amount of CO2 emissions. When forests are cut down or burnt down, the stored CO2 gets released into the atmosphere. Surveys show that deforestation results in the release of about a billion tons of CO2 per annum. As CO2 is the most influencing greenhouse gas, sudden disbalance in the CO2 cycle can enhance the effect of excess CO2 in the atmosphere. It hugely contributes to temperature increase, global climate change and destroys the natural balance. Forests also help in the exchange of water vapor between the atmosphere of the earth and the land mass. When trees are cut down, the water vapor flow gets effectively decreased. Even a subtle change in this flow can upset the balance in the atmosphere that in turn can lead to climate change. Scientists argue that climate change is the biggest concern related to the effects of deforestation.
Apart from the discussed issues of climate change and water vapor flow, deforestation has other threatening effects too. When forests are cut down, a lot of living species are forced to lose or leave their natural inhabitance. This may even lead to their extinction. Trees contribute greatly to the water cycle of the earth. But deforestation can upset the balance of that cycle. The roots of the trees prevent soil erosion by keeping the soil particles tightly knitted to each other. But, deforestation causes the loss of that tight bond that eventually results in soil erosion. If we assess all these effects, then we will realize that they jointly contribute to the loss of the quality of life throughout the world.
The effects of deforestation are not only terrifying, but they are alerting as well. If we do not counter this global problem, then we will have to face a challenging situation to our survival. Before that moment comes, this is the situation when we should try to find the possible solutions to deforestation and take proper steps. At this point, the most suitable countermeasure for deforestation seems to be reforestation. Reforestation will help to rebuild and restore habitats for many wildlife species, stabilize the CO2 cycle, normalize the water cycle, reduce the soil erosion, and increase the CO2 storage capacity of the trees. Another solution is shifting the human beings to a diet plan that is wholesomely based on plants. This will decrease deforestation as there will be no need of raising a huge amount of livestock. But experts argue that these countermeasures cannot compensate the loss already happened due to deforestation. These are also unable to produce fruitful results if deforestation continues at such rapid pace. Therefore, the primary and most important solution to deforestation is to effectively slow down the pace and rate of deforestation.
Deforestation is indeed a major global problem that can produce really undesired and potentially negative results. These results can eventually make all the species including the human beings to face the challenge of extinction in the future. Therefore, it is time to assess and analyze the problems of deforestation and take proper counter steps. It is now in our hand to counteract deforestation in order to provide our next generation a green, healthy and happy world.