DEFORESTATION: A MAJOR BIODIVERSITY ISSUE
Deforestation is the loss of forest cover all over the world for non-forest purposes. It has adverse consequences not only on biodiversity but also on human settlements. It leads to the loss of precious plant and animal species. It is increasing and becoming more visible due to increasing population and urbanization.
WHAT ARE THE FACTORS AFFECTING DEFORESTATION?
Mining- mining is accompanied by large infrastructure construction such as building of roads. The miners enter the areas said to have huge mineral deposits and hunt wildlife, cut trees and clear the hillsides by using explosives. Moreover, toxic compounds are used for mining, it exposes buried metal sulphides to atmospheric oxygen which leads to the formation of strong sulfuric acid and metal oxides.
Overpopulation- since the population is increasing day-by-day, more land is being cleared to set-up houses. Moreover, with an increasing population, more roads and highways are required to accommodate more vehicles.
Agricultural expansion- one of the major causes for deforestation is agricultural expansion. The rising demand for products such as palm oil and soybean are pushing the producers to clear forests at a disturbing rate. farmers clear the land for their cattles by slash and burn and use it until the soil is completely degraded.
Climate change also has an adverse effect on forests. Trees take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen with some amount of water vapors. But when the trees in the forest are cut down, the amount of oxygen and water vapors released also decreases. As a result, the humidity level falls down and causes the rest of the trees to dry out as well.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF DEFORESTATION ON BIODIVERSITY?
Forests are the storhouses of biodiversity and deforestation affects biodiversity as a whole. retaining the biodiversity is not at all easy unless and until we understand the importance of various plant and animal species. According to the WHO, about 80 percent of the world’s population relies for primary healthcare partially on traditional medicine. A very important outcome of deforestation is the permanent loss of the gene pool which is the valuable plant and animal genetic resource. Many plant and animal species are near extinction whereas some of them have been overexploited due to deforestation. Also, the destruction of forest areas has reduced animal populations such that many rare species are now extinct. Deforestation is not only a threat to biodiversity but also a threat to humanity. Moreover, the cycle of deforestation leads to climate change. It contributes to about 15 percent global greenhouse emissions. Also due to deforestation there is an increased risk of wildfires and droughts.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
You’ve already helped by reading this far and educating yourself! Next, there are a few things you can do to help further:
Educate others. There are a lot of people, completely unaware of this global problem we’re facing. By educating your friends, family and community you’ll increase awareness and make an impact
Reduce paper consumption. Opt for recycled paper products. Write on both sides of the paper, avoiding paper plates and napkins.
Plant a tree wherever you can.
Do not burn firewood excessively.
Buy only sustainable wood products.
As individuals we need to make it a priority within our communities to work towards a sustainable future for ourselves and the earth.
THE DEATH OF THE FOREST IS THE END OF OUR LIFE. Dorothy Stang