It means the practice of clearing a wide area of trees. Another way we can say, deforestation is the process of clearing trees from a domain to use that area for agricultural purposes, Urbanization, mining activities, etc. So it is clear to us that deforestation occurs by human activities, and it is happening since 1960. Deforestation has very adverse effects on natural ecosystems, biodiversity, and climate. Deforestation rate to be around 1.3 million km² per decade is estimated by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.
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Why is deforestation occurring?
There are multiple motives for this occurrence either of human or natural influence.
Natural motives are—
1. Natural forest fires.
2. Parasite-caused diseases.
Human motives are—
1. Agricultural practices
Conforming to the FAO, 80% deforestation occurs by Agricultural practices. Around 40% of forest loss occurs by Commercial or Industrial agriculture. It is an interesting matter that Livestock happens 14% of global deforestation. To get space for growing food, fibres or biofuel (like that soybean, palm oil, beef, cotton, maize, rice etc.)
2. Mining works
.For mining works we need a clean area because it is very complex work. Sometimes geologists find mine in a jungle area where many trees are growing. At that time for their opportunity, they cut the trees. Another site mining works create air pollution and make fire. This is also a reason for deforestation.
3. New constructions
Construction works occur deforestation approximately 15%. For our modern lifestyle, we need transportation, transformation and energy generating systems. So we need to build roads, railways, ports or airports. To transport fruits, we need a proper route, but when need to manage coal, oil, natural gas, biomass and also meat, dairy then required massive extraction, transportation, infrastructures construction operations
Urbanization occurs deforestation approximately 5% (According to FAO). Nowadays, people want to live with excellent facilities. For this reason, they move to the urban area from rural areas. When they add to the metropolitan area, then we need enough space for their facilities. So we are occurring deforestation for more land to prepare the more urban area. Scientists are estimating that in 2050 approximately 68% of peoples of the world will live in a metropolitan area.
Impacts of Deforestation on Environment
1. Impacts on local people and their Livelihood
Deforestation affects local people because it creates a low density of Oxygen. Around 16% of peoples are supported by healthy forests globally. Tree plays an essential role in raining. So deforestation creates a considerable loss in agriculture. For example, Amazon jungle called “Lung of the world” loss its majority amount of trees for firing. So it is easy to say that peoples who are living around this area will fall in many problems.
2. Impacts on Biodiversity
It is the most known impact. The forests are home for Birds, Mammals, Insects, Amphibians or plants. Around 80% of the Earth’s plants and animals are living in the forest. By cutting down trees, we damage the Biodiversity. It also affects the global temperature.
3. Impacts on Food producing process
Trees are our best friend, and they are providing foods for us. If we are running the process of deforestation at this alarming rate, then will create food lack for us.
4. Impacts on Soil erosion
Trees are helping to protect soil from erosion. Specially forested lands are competent to carry huge organic matter and also protect soil from erosion. Forest blocks the sun rays to reach the ground and keep the soil moist. This will protect the land from a fragile state, and the lands are fixing.
5. Impacts on Climate change
Deforestation has great implications for climate change. Trees produce Oxygen and take CO2 from the air. This process controls global temperature and Oxygen. CO2 is the chemical which can raise the global temperature. If we are destroying forests, then the global temperature will increase. This temperature will melt the polar ice caps and will increase the Sea water level. Scientists are warning that in 2050 the south part of Bangladesh will go under seawater if we can’t stop the temperature increase process. Another side CO2 breaks the Ozone layer that will increase the probability of cancer in our body because Ozone protects the Ultraviolet rays which are coming from the Sun. Deforestation also decreases the rainfall and will make drought.
1. Effects on water cycle
Tree plays many vital roles in the natural process. Transpiration is the leading process of trees. Transpiration is the process by which tree secretes water in the atmosphere, and this water becomes clouds. So we can say that trees are helping to create the raining process. And by this process tree plays an essential role in the water cycle. If we are destroying forests, then we will fall into a great water lack situation.
2. Impacts on Amazon Rain forest
Amazon is the forest which provides 20% of total Oxygen that need for world’s people. So it is called “Lung of the world”. This forest also provides shelter for huge birds, Animals, Insects and other. Around 70-80% of deforestation occurs by livestock farming, Soya producing (Reported by FAO and Greenpeace). By destroying this forest, we create a terrible environment for animals that are living there and create a massive lack of Oxygen.
What should we do to stop deforestation?
1. Decreasing the using fossil fuel and palm oil also.
2. Using a better plan for Urbanization.
3. By eating less meat, we can decrease deforestation.
4. By increasing public awareness.
5. To increase security guard in forest areas.
6. To recycle a product (come from destroying trees) can decrease deforestation.
7. By arranging a seminar can decrease deforestation. Etc.
Trees are our best friend. So we should take care of the trees. Trees and Forests are at stake worldwide. If we can’t stop deforestation, then we will lose our better life on Earth. The first step for preventing deforestation is public awareness. The government should take proper steps for this work.
Md Rayhan Sojib
Dept. of Soil and Environmental Sciences
The University of Barishal.