Indiscriminate deforestation is a form of destroying our planet, increasing global warming by cutting down the forests. Government around the would should put an stop to indiscriminate deforestation because it cause soil erosion leading to disastrous mudslides, water cycle disruption causing fertile soil and plenty of rain become barren and dry, and greenhouse gas emissions where affecting wild animals, plants and humans via weather changes and increased likelihood of natural disasters. The destructive role of indiscriminate deforestation calls the world to questions about how alterations in the environment can influence the planet balance and, by extension, humans future.
Soil Degradation and Desertification
Deforestation leads to a perpetuated cycle of cutting trees to clear the land for farming. It is significant to note that forests are essential for preserving rich nutrients on topsoil (Longobardi et al., 2016). When the area is cleared, these nutrients are slowly washed away (Longobardi et al., 2016). This phenomenon, called soil erosion, forces farmers to repeat the cycle. There is a scientific explanation of why erosion takes place. Elements that are required for sustaining plant life are located on the top layer of soil. When forests are destroyed as a result of human activity, winds blow the topsoil into rivers over time (Longobardi et al., 2016). As a result, the area is deprived of necessary nutrients to sustain trees and other plants. Such land is no longer suitable for farming; therefore, farmers are forced to clear additional areas to preserve their activity.
In the worst case, a deforested land may deteriorate to become a desert. The reason is the complex role forests play in the precipitation and water cycle. They influence rainfall by “modifying the exchange of energy and water vapor with atmosphere” (Runyan & D’Odorico, 2016, p. 59). In other words, vegetation serves as the moisture source for regional precipitation (Runyan & D’Odorico, 2016). This source is eliminated when the land is cleared for agricultural or another use. As a result, there is a substantial risk of desertification. Therefore, indiscriminate deforestation is an ecological issue that should be considered with focus. While desertification is a potential outcome, deforestation launches a chain of unfavorable consequences that may impact human and animal habitats.
Carbon Dioxide Concentration and Decrease in Oxygen Levels
There is a two-fold impact of deforestation on carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. The majority of plants conduct the process known as photosynthesis (Runyan & D’Odorico, 2016). They absorb the carbon dioxide found in the air and release oxygen instead. As a result of deforestation, more carbon dioxide is retained in the atmosphere because fewer plants absorb it. A more subtle but no less significant impact is associated with carbon gas that was previously absorbed. When trees are cut and burnt or allowed to rot, carbon dioxide that was consumed is released back into the atmosphere (Runyan & D’Odorico, 2016). This process drastically increases the concentration of greenhouse gases in the air. This fact emphasizes the significance of planning before clearing the land and developing detailed procedures for handling the cut trees.
The decrease in oxygen levels is a far more concerning issue than the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. Oxygen is among the most vital elements for human existence. Despite the fact that Amazon rainforests account for 40% of the produced oxygen, the trees have been cut at frightening rates. In the last 50 years, almost 20% of the forest has been lost. Researchers note that deforestation in Amazon and other significant rainforests is motivated by a “complex range of drivers,” including cattle ranching and commercial soy production (Seymour & Harris, 2019, p. 756). In some cases, economic instability and political impotence of governments cause deforestation. It means that different regions have varying reasons for continuing to cut trees. Some individuals even argue that deforestation is a necessity for survival.
There are many incentives for deforestation, which makes some individuals believe that cutting down trees is a favorable activity. Common arguments include economic incentives, urbanization, and an increase in population. Regions that are economically struggling may benefit from selling wood as a raw resource, such as construction material. Creating an industry around deforestation generates new jobs and increases household revenue. Seymour and Harris (2019) state that “small-scale commercial farmers clearing forests to feed themselves” represent the majority of deforestation activities in the Congo Basin (p. 756). In different areas, deforestation may be motivated by an increase in population and the need to build required settlements (Sturgess, 2019). In other words, a significant portion of deforestation activities is done by people who believe that deforestation is necessary. This finding may indicate the lack of understanding or neglect for future generations. It also suggests that to solve this issue, people should be given an alternative way to make money, build homes, and grow crops.
Implications for Human Beings
Although deforestation has been able to offer people economic prosperity and other benefits, a decrease in forest vegetation is able to impact human beings negatively. All influences are associated with the far-reaching consequences of deforestation. An increased concentration of carbon dioxide will further drive climate change, affecting crops and lands, deteriorating entire ecosystems, and accelerating global warming. Statistical data suggests that deforestation “can impact climate on local and global scales” (Longobardi et al., 2016, p. 2). Some regions are at risk of being affected by dry seasons, which will decrease the volume of grown crops worldwide. As a result, a significant portion of the global population may face poverty, which is already a worldwide concern. The most frightening outcome is the total depletion of oxygen, which will result in the complete extinction of humankind. It is not too late to take countermeasures, and therefore, governments and people throughout the world should participate in a global battle against deforestation.
As already mentioned, deforestation is motivated by a wide range of drivers. Therefore, it is imperative that countermeasures are comprehensive in nature. It is not sufficient to only prohibit cutting forests by law. People need to have a place to build houses and grow their food. What could be suggested is the concept of co-existence, when governments provide farmers with technological and financial means for growing crops and building houses without affecting forests. Contemporary technology allows individuals to build vertical farms that do not require a large flat surface area to grow plants. Dickson Despommier, the proponent of the original idea, was able to construct a vertical farm that could feed 50 thousand people (Al-Chalabi, 2015). Vertical farms can help avoid deforestation without disrupting the global food supply chain. It is not to suggest that they are the ultimate solution to all issues related to halting deforestation. Instead, vertical farms are the proof that there are always ways of co-existing with nature.
Deforestation is a global concern that should not be ignored. The consequences of clearing the land of forests are far-reaching and may lead to terrifying outcomes. Soil erosion, increased concentration of carbon dioxide, and oxygen loss are only some of the examples. While there are individuals claiming that deforestation is necessary, contemporary technology allows human beings to co-exist with natural habitat. Unless people learn how to co-exist, humankind may be doomed to face extinction.
Al-Chalabi, M. (2015). Vertical farming: Skyscraper sustainability? Sustainable Cities and Society, 18, 74-77.
Longobardi, P., Montenegro, A., Beltrami, H., & Eby, M. (2016). Deforestation induced climate change: Effects of spatial scale. PloS One, 11(4), 1-34.
Runyan, C., & D’Odorico, P. (2016). Global deforestation. Cambridge University Press.
Seymour, F., & Harris, N. L. (2019). Reducing tropical deforestation. Science, 365(6455), 756-757.
Sturgess, B. (2019). Measuring natural capital and the causes of deforestation. World Economics, 20(3), 39-62.