A global environmental issue that greatly impacts the world and is impacted by the human population is deforestation. Deforestation is “the permanent destruction of forests in order to make the land available for other uses” (Alina Bradford, 2018). Deforestation can be done by cutting down trees or by fires. The trees that are cut down are usually used for fuel or for making paper, building houses, doors, windows, etc.
The fires that just recently happened in the Amazon rainforest is unfortunately a great example of larger scale deforestation. Global warming due to increased greenhouse gases, erosion of topsoil leading to fewer crops, flooding due to the removal of soil cover are important consequences of deforestation which impacts the daily life of humans (pachamama, 2019).
Deforestation decreases biodiversity, which basically means that the number of species in an ecosystem decreases drastically. The variety of species depends on the variety of trees in a forest. When the diversity among trees and the ecosystem decreases, the species diversity decreases too, therefore the habitat for wildlife decreases as well (Damian Carrington, 2019).
The outbreak of insect borne insects like malaria, dengue, ebola, etc. And water borne diseases like cholera occur also. The climate becomes drier and groundwater table decreases as infiltration is less and surface runoff is very high. Soil erosion and removal of nutrient from soil occurs which impacts the ecosystem. Global CO2 increases and therefore global warming also increases which reduces oxygen supply due to the decrease in photosynthesis which hugely (and negatively) impacts the ecosystem.
It’s so easy to go cut down a tree but despite all the negative things that cause deforestation, many sustainable practices can be made to stop deforestation. We can start by replanting the trees that were taken down instead of creating buildings like stores, homes etc, that is called reforestation. Reforestation is “The replanting of trees on areas of land where forests have been cleared by felling or burning (deforestation) or by natural means”. Reforestation is super important in countries like Brazil because huge areas of forests have been destroyed by deforestation. Although planted forests have much less species diversity than the original forest it is still something good that we can do to stop deforestation.
Reforestation also helps to counteract global emissions of carbon dioxide by fixing the gas as plant material. Reforestation can play a huge part in slowing down global warming due to the greenhouse effect (oxford university, 2004). A few other sustainable practices that can be done to stop deforestation are educating the population about the negative effects of deforestation, reducing the amount of paper we use by switching to paperless billing, stop using wood as fuel and start using different things like bamboo instead and recycling or reusing items that are made from wood instead of just throwing them away.
I think deforestation is a very big and serious issue, but at the same time I truly believe that it is an issue that can be stopped or at least lessened if we all work together and change some aspects of our lives.