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Environmental Impacts of Deforestation Essay – Free Essay Example

Most people never really think about how important trees are in life. The trees around tend to seem unimportant as people go outside. Most only see them as the scenery and background in life. However, people use trees in their everyday lives. For example, the furniture they sit on, the paper they write on, the fruit they eat and, most importantly, the air they breathe. As consumers, people rely heavily on forests and trees without even realizing it. The problem is that forests are shrinking due to deforestation.

So what is deforestation? According to (2019), deforestation is defined as “to divest or clear forests by slash and burn or clear cutting.” Deforestation is an issue that is very important and is not addressed enough in today’s world. Due to misused resources, deforestation is causing biodiversity loss, erosion of soils, and climate change. After watching Before the Flood, I was interested in the topic deforestation; therefore, I chose to make the claim about biodiversity loss. I researched this on google scholar and found that biological diversity is declining due to the expansion of human society (Swatson, 1998). Today the thing that forms human society is money (Stehr, 2019). Money influences society in more ways than people care to admit.

Money brings out the good and bad in people, which becomes an average of what kind of society we live in. It makes people hate each other, love each other, envy each other, be jealous of each other and take notice in each other (Stehr, 2019). Large companies are the biggest factor when it comes to losing our biological diversity. Companies want to save money so they have come up with the cheapest types of products they can find. The one product that most companies use today is palm oil. Palm oil is the world’s least expensive and highest yielding vegetable oil. It is the preferred cooking oil for millions of people around the world and it is used as a source of biodiesel due to being so cheap. Palm oil and its derivatives are common ingredients in fast foods, packaged foods, cosmetics, personal care products, and cleaners for households (Vijay & Pimm, 2016).

According to Vijay & Pimm (2016), “driven by demand for these products, palm oil production doubled between 2003 and 2013 and is supposed to continue increasing.” This shows that if humans do not put a stop to it now, then it could takeover as a result of leaving no forests left in our world. In order to produce palm oil companies need land. Companies tend to buy forest land because they feel like there’s endless abundance of it, even though there are only three big tropical rainforests that remain on the planet: the Amazon, the Congo Basin, and the Southeast Asian Rainforest. These companies are destroying habitats and increasing the vulnerability of animals, therefore threatening Earth’s biodiversity (World Rainforest Movement, 2001).

According to Skorpa (1986), “almost 80% of the worlds documented species live in rainforests.” When people burn or cut down the forests, they threaten these animals and ruin their homes. During this, most individuals are unable to escape from these destructive measures, and their lives are lost in the process. With no stop to this, many more different species will go extinct. When water cycles become disrupted it causes the surrounding climate to become much drier. Soil erosion happens quicker because the trees are no longer there to protect and keep the soil in place. Through deforestation, people are harming and disrupting wildlife, which causes an imbalance in the environment (Fraser & MacRae, 2011). Not only does deforestation kill animals, but it also is causing the erosion of soils (Khormali, 2009). Before the flood also made me interested in doing research on the erosion of soils.

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I researched on google scholar and found that the loss of trees, which anchor the soil with their roots, causes widespread erosion throughout the forests. Small areas have good soils, which after clearing are quickly washed away by heavy rains. After heavy tropical rains fall on cleared forest lands, the run-off carries this ground into local creeks and rivers. The rivers carry the erosion downstream, causing significant problems. When a forest is cut down, the trees that were once able to hold this nutrient-rich ground in place are gone; however, the results of this on flat land or minor compared to those on angled slopes. Erosion and rainfall in such places can cause huge mudslides, which can cause serious land degradation. This in turn disrupts any new growth from happening, worsening the problem (Khormali, 2009). Logging companies tend to compound the effects of erosion and deforestation on the ecosystem.

There heavy logging trucks compact the layer of thin soil and which prevents new plant growth. Logging trucks leave deep tire marks which then erode at a fast pace and deposit a high volume of sediment into rivers and streams. Land that has been cleared to make way for agriculture easily dries out which then kills many organisms that perform beneficial ecosystem services for vegetation (Hunt, 2010). Deforested rainforest soil becomes dry and nutrient-deficient as there is no longer vegetation to hold water and nutrients in place. Heavy rains will then erode soil and saturate waterways with excess nutrients, disrupting the food chain of tropical ecosystems (Khormali, 2009). The last thing that before the flood influenced me to look up was the effects that deforestation has on climate change. I found on Google Scholar that soil erosion is an important aspect of deforestation; equally important is climate change (Bosetti, 2010). Deforestation is one of the leading factors when it comes to man-made climate change (Domroes, 1991). According to Malhi & Roberts (2008), “Approximately 30% of the world’s climate change is caused in part by deforestation.”

It leads to an increased rate of global warming because it weakens the Earth’s ability to get rid of greenhouse gasses. Rainforests absorb carbon from the atmosphere storing it in leaves and organic matter. When people begin the process of slash and burn, a carbon bomb is released and carbon goes back into the atmosphere. Sadly to say, deforestation emits more carbon daily than the entire U.S economy. Without lots of trees to combat the increasing levels of carbon dioxide, climate change will continue at a faster pace (Candall & Raupach, 2008). Obviously, climate change caused by deforestation is easily preventable. More often than not, people do not need to cut down forests in order to live our lives the way that they currently do. Even when people do need to cut down trees, there are ways to lessen the damage that is done to the planet. For example, people can change their diets by cutting down on meat intake and they can eat as many vegetarian meals as possible, stop printing and go paperless, recycle as much as possible, and stop using firewood to heat their homes (Heinz-Herb, 2016). Not everyone agrees with this argument, however.

Some actually claim that deforestation is an advantage to the world (Cattaneo, 2018). Deforestation makes it possible for communities to be built. Forests make it possible for factories, residential houses and office buildings. The government is able to build roads to make transport and trade easier and therefore more convenient to residents. Deforestation can also mean the conversion of forest land to productive land for agricultural uses. In doing this, it allows people to grow crops for consumption and making products; however, in doing this, it only contributes to the loss of the ever-shrinking forests we have left on this planet. This results in better and more abundant production of food and materials for the people. It also allows for cheaper products due to the use of palm oil. Economically, deforestation has contributed much in giving many communities the opportunity to make positive changes in their lives (Cattaneo, 2018). As stated before, deforestation harms the biodiversity of animals, erosion of soils, and it is causing climate change.

Unfortunately, the negative consequences of deforestation outweigh the positive effects. As people pass trees or parks, they should take a moment to be grateful and think of how much it really impacts their lives. They should take a moment to think about the future lives of their descendants and family. They should think about what would happen if there were no more forests. They should think about the environment and what they could do to help. Examples of how they could help would be to become an advocate against deforestation by planting a tree, educating people about the effects of their actions, such as palm oil consumption, or even start a protest against harming the environment (Buntaine & Hamilton 2015). Effort needs to be put into saving the forests. If people in the world all come together to tackle the problem of deforestation, they can help build a more sustainable future.

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