Deforestation and Its Environmental Effects

Deforestation is a deliberate, unintentional, or natural destruction and removal of trees. Every year, several million acres of forests are being destroyed. People are cutting them to build roads and houses, construct furniture, and make other wooden structures. The loss of forests leads to multiple negative effects on the environment and human health. Although the process of deforestation may have some advantages for civilization and industrialization, its negative long-term impacts on climate, water, and soil outweigh its benefits and call humanity for immediate action.

Deforestation negatively affects the global climate and leads to consistent warming. Trees and plants are vital for the process of carbon dioxide absorption and oxygen release. If a great quantity of plants and trees is cleaned, the number of greenhouse gases will increase, which will result in global warming. According to Prevedello et al. (2019), deforestation led to “warming of 0.38±0.02°C […] in tropical regions and 0.16±0.01°C in temperate regions” (p. 9). Although these changes may seem irrelevant and harmless, they contribute to other factors, leading to global climate change and its negative consequences. For example, Wolff et al. (2018) argue that temperature increases often affect “crop yields directly, with consequences for food security and human health” (p. 181). In addition, global warming and deforestation cause drought promotion and the extinction of biodiversity and wildlife, harming the environment as well.

Other negative consequences of deforestation are water pollution, flood, and drought. Trees are responsible for the control of water in the air since they help to normalize the natural water cycle. In the areas where forests are destroyed, the level of humidity is lower, which means that less water will be returned to the soil. Consequently, droughts will occur, and people will have limited access to drinking water too. In addition, lower soil permeability leads to an increase in soil attrition which, in turn, causes a “higher flux of sediment and a higher level of turbidity” (Mapulanga & Naito, 2019, p. 8249). As a result, water quality is worsening, and drinking water becomes more expensive for people. Finally, deforestation causes an upsurge in the water amount in the streamflow (Mapulanga & Naito, 2019, p. 8249). If there are no plants and trees to consume water, floods will occur in such areas, thus negatively affecting the environment.

Soil fertility and agricultural practices suffer from the destruction of forests too. Trees and plants help the land preserve topsoil, which is rich in nutrients and is important for sustaining wildlife. According to Kassa et al. (2017), the tree leaves contribute significantly to “the top soil’s levels of nitrogen, organic carbon, exchangeable calcium and magnesium” (p. 280). In the forest areas, the soil is more fertile, and farmers can use the land effectively. In comparison, in the areas without forests, soil erosion and flooding occur, making agricultural practices impossible and forcing farmers to move to other lands. Consequently, the barren lands are left behind, benefiting neither farmers nor wild animals.

At the same time, some people believe that deforestation may be advantageous to them. For example, cutting woods brings about more space for development and growth, the manufacture of useful materials, and industrialization. In addition, woodworking businesses create jobs for thousands of people and produce more materials for food and life. Despite these advantages, deforestation has a harmful effect on the environment, and its long-term losses overweigh the above-mentioned short-term gains. Thus, global warming affects human health and wildlife negatively. Drought and flood along with soil erosion and water contamination will also lead to land destruction, diseases, extinction of animals and plants, and other negative consequences. Therefore, the problem of deforestation should be addressed and solved immediately to prevent future losses and save the planet.

Although it may seem that the issue of deforestation is difficult to solve, some steps can be made today to decrease its negative environmental effects and promote forestation. Prevedello et al. (2019) claim that foresting (both passive and active) can reverse the negative impact of deforestation on the temperature of the land surface, albedo, and evapotranspiration (p. 11). Thus, people should plant trees where they can and raise awareness in their communities about the importance of forestation for the environment and humans. Moreover, recycling products and trying to use less paper will also help to reduce the destruction of trees. People should buy only certified wood products, helping to put an end to poaching activities. Avoiding palm oil will reduce the deforestation of palm trees too. Finally, people should support those companies that are committed to decreasing deforestation. It will stimulate other companies to improve their practices and become more ecologically sustainable.

In conclusion, the destruction of trees, either natural or intentional, has a harmful influence on the environment, so people should reduce deforestation to prevent its irreversible effects immediately. Despite some advantages, cutting woods leads to global temperature increases, soil erosion, water pollution, and other environmental changes. All these changes may cause various health problems, lead to the extinction of animals and plants and limit natural resources. Therefore, humans should stop deforestation and promote forestation to save biodiversity and attain sustainable development in different spheres of life.

References

Kassa, H., Dondeyne, S., Poesen, J., Frankl, A., & Nyssen, J. (2017). Impact of deforestation on soil fertility, soil carbon and nitrogen stocks: The case oft the Gacheb catchment in the White Nile Basin, Ethiopia. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 247, 273-282. Web.

Mapulanga, A. M., & Naito, H. (2019). Effect of deforestation on access to clean drinking water. PNAS, 116(17), 8249-8254. Web.

Prevedello, J. A., Winck, G. R., Weber, M. M., Nichols, E., & Sinervo, B. (2019). Impacts of forestation and deforestation on local temperature across the globe. PLoS ONE, 14(3), 1-18. Web.

Wolff, N. H., Masuda, Y. J., Meijaard, E., Wells, J. A., & Game, E. T. (2018). Impacts of tropical deforestation on local temperature and human well-being perceptions. Global Environmental Change, 52, 181-189. Web.

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