The purposeful clearing of forested land is called deforestation. Over time, the forests have been torn down to make fulfill human needs. They are cleared to make space for agriculture, animal grazing, construction, obtaining wood for fuel, and manufacturing. Much of the earth’s farmland was once forests but deforestation practices around the world altered the landscapes. As members of society, it’s important to discuss why is deforestation so prevalent, why is deforestation good and bad, and what are the disadvantages and advantages of deforestation. This article throws light on all the important aspects of deforestation you should know about.
1. What are 10 Effects of Deforestation?
The world population is increasing speedily and the demand for space is increasing as well. There is also a desperate need for agricultural and industrial land. The increased urban demands plus all these factors have led to increased deforestation. Deforestation is a practice that clears the tree plantations and forest covers to accommodate land for urban, industrial, and agricultural use. These are 10 effects of deforestation:
- Climate Change and Imbalance: Forests are the lungs of the planet and deforestation clears forests thus affecting the climate severely. Trees release oxygen as well as water vapor in the air and take in carbon dioxide. The constant loss of trees creates an imbalance in the atmospheric temperature and creates a drier climate. It further creates difficult ecological conditions that ultimately lead to climate change. The humidity levels also come down. There are increased chances of fire damage when the tropical rainforests start drying out. It further destroys the forest and harms animals as well as humans. Deforestation results in flooding, higher temperatures, soil erosion, and desertification.
- Increase in Global Warming: Trees are important assets that control global warming as they utilize greenhouse gases and thus they restore balance in the atmosphere. But with constant deforestation, the atmosphere now has an increased ratio of greenhouse gases which adds to the problem of global warming.
- Soil Erosion: In the local water cycles, trees play a crucial part as they keep on reinstating water vapor into the atmosphere. The rainwater oozes into the soil and moistens it. The intricate root structure of many layers of trees firmly holds the fertile soil in place. But when the trees are cleared, the soil is exposed to the sun which makes it dry. This further causes erosion that sweeps land into nearby rivers and streams. Due to this erosion, the soil is exposed to contaminants that leach into the water supply and damages the drinking water quality.
- Flood: The trees store and absorb a large amount of rainwater with the help of their roots. But when the trees are cleared the soil loses its capacity to retain water and the water flow gets disrupted. This leads to droughts in some places and floods in others.
- Increased Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Forests are responsible for reducing the emissions of carbon dioxide and other toxic greenhouse gases. However, when trees are burned, cut, or otherwise removed they become carbon sources. Deforestation is estimated to emit around 20 percent of greenhouse gases.
- Acidic Ocean: The burning of fossil fuels and deforestation have increased the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This increased carbon dioxide has made your oceans more acidic. The beaches have gotten 30% more acidic since the Industrial Revolution. This acidity causes the extreme risk to ocean ecosystems and species.
- Declining Life Quality: All over the world, people depend on forests for agriculture, hunting, and gathering medicine. Everyday materials like cork, fruit, nuts, natural oils, resins, and latex are also extracted from forests which is why when deforestation occurs it affects the lives of millions. Due to deforestation, there is social conflict and migration in Southeast Asia.
- Biodiversity Loss: The world’s 80% biodiversity is located in tropical rainforests. Forests aren’t only important for wildlife habits or for fostering medicinal conservation, they are a critical key for the preservation of a wide variety of species. Deforestation leads to an enormous loss of biodiversity. It destroys the microbial community that is responsible for the production of clean water, recycling of nutrients, and removal of pollutants.
- Food Insecurity in the Future: Currently, soil erosion has severely or moderately impacted 52% of the land used for food production. This will lead to the soil being infertile in the long run and thus, there will be low yields and food insecurity.
2. Is Deforestation Good for the Environment?
There may be advantages of deforestation for industries, but the environment isn’t good in any way, shape, or form. Forests have a great influence on flood prevention, rainfall patterns, and water and soil quality. The forest is home to more than half of the world’s land-based plants as well as three-quarters of all the birds. The trees also provide shade to keep the soil moist. Many animals lose their habitats due to the haphazard clearance of forests. Even humans rely on the forests for making a living and their homes.
Increasing deforestation is a threat to the environment. You need trees to absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. The clearance of forests fuels the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. About 10 % of global warming is caused due to forest loss and damage. After learning about this let’s explore why is deforestation good and bad in the following para. (See What are the Uses of Soil?)
3. Why is Deforestation Good and Bad?
Like any other process, deforestation has its set of pros and cons. To understand the advantages of deforestation and why is deforestation good and bad you will have to understand these pros and cons.
- It creates more usable space for growth.
- It helps in the production of more usable material.
- It is necessary for civilization and industrialization.
- It creates more job openings.
- It provides animals with grazing opportunities.
- It produces a chance for more food.
- It creates more sources of revenue for governments around the world.
- It causes an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
- It is only based on short-term gains in profits.
- It causes flooding.
- It causes abnormally low rainfall and thus promotes drought.
- The resources gathered from deforestation are limited.
- It causes the extinction of wildlife.
- With the speed of deforestation, it will only take a short while to lose all the forests.
- It may risk future medicine production.
- It causes countless environmental and community harm.
4. Is Deforestation Necessary for Development?
Now that you have understood why is deforestation good and bad, let’s discuss the importance of deforestation or the advantages of deforestation for development. It’s hard to believe this, but without deforestation, the world would have had just a few people living in the jungles at near starvation levels.
However, it was once crucially important for development. It was needed to create space for the growth and production of more usable material. The advantages of deforestation are necessary for industrialization and civilization. But now since the world has had so many developments people should think of ways to stop deforestation and find sustainable alternatives. After all, in the long run, if you lose your environment there is no way you will survive. (See What is the Positive Effect of Urbanization?)
5. What are Positive Effects of Deforestation?
Now that we have generated an understanding of the negative effects of deforestation let’s learn about the positive effects of deforestation.
- It’s a means of livelihood.
- It makes the transport of goods and commodities possible.
- It creates more job opportunities.
- It creates a boom in the economy by contributing to industrialization.
- It’s a source of materials used for things like tissue, toothpick, food, paper, etc.
- It creates food for animals.
6. What are the Advantages of Deforestation?
After understanding the positive effects of deforestation, in brief, let’s learn about the advantages of deforestation in detail:
- It creates usable land for human expansion: The population of humans is only going to increase with time. It’s estimated that the population levels will meet or exceed 10 billion by the year 2050. To feed such a large population, more agricultural land will be required. Though deforestation is a sad process, it does create usable land for humans pretty quickly. It allows for more economic stimulus as it creates more transportation networks.
- It is a revenue generator: Due to deforestation, certain materials are harvested and these materials create a lot of revenue. It produces materials for building businesses and homes. It allows for mining as well as gas and oil extraction.
- It creates jobs: Deforestation creates a lot of employment opportunities in agriculture, mining, and oil and gas extraction.
- It gives us material: Through the advantages of deforestation, trees can turn into wood products like paper, natural aspirin, chewing gum, carnauba wax, sponges, rubber, and henna dye.
7. What is the Importance of Deforestation?
Now that you have understood the advantages of deforestation, let’s further learn about the importance of deforestation. There is immense importance of deforestation in the creation and running of civilizations. It is also important for industrialization. It provides job opportunities and is a major revenue generator. It provides you with things like paper, chewing gum, carnauba wax, sponges, rubber, and henna dye. (Learn How has the Removal of Wetlands Impacted Rivers and Streams?)
8. How does Deforestation help the Economy?
The advantages of deforestation can be seen in the economy as well. It boosts the economy by helping industrialization and thus creating a lot of job opportunities. It creates a lot of employment opportunities in agriculture, mining, and oil and gas extraction. It provides a lot of taxes to the government as well. (See How are Humans Economics and Ecology Linked?)
9. How do Farmers Benefit from Deforestation?
Deforestation is a source of income for the farmers who cut down trees, turn them into coal, and sell them as fuel. Moreover, deforestation creates agricultural or farmland that can be used by farmers to plant crops. (See What are Some Ways to Conserve Resources at Home?)
10. What can You do for Deforestation?
You can always help to lessen the adversity of deforestation by:
- Planting a tree whenever you can.
- Going paperless.
- Recycle goods and buy recycled products.
- Support institutions that commit to reducing deforestation.
- Don’t use palm oil as well as its products.