Wondering what the effects of deforestation are? With climate change as the most urgent issue of our time, the threats of deforestation are even more critical. An article in the Guardian puts things into perspective: “the role of forests in combating climate change risks being overlooked by the world’s governments, according to a group of scientists that has warned halting deforestation is “just as urgent” as eliminating the use of fossil fuels.”
The article continues: “razing the world’s forests would release more than 3 trillion tons of carbon dioxide, more than the amount locked in identified global reserves in oil, coal, and gas. As a result, the world would achieve 18% of the emissions mitigation needed by 2030 to avoid runaway climate change.” This means that if we want to combat climate change and make a move towards environmental sustainability, the issue of deforestation really has to be taken seriously. Ultimately, we can’t protect our planet without protecting our forests.
What is deforestation?
To put it simply: deforestation is the clearing out or removal of a forest, where the land is used for non-forest use. As a result, we often see the conversion of forestland to farms, ranches or even urban use. The most deforestation occurs in tropical rainforests around the world.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, “deforestation comes in many forms, including fires, clear-cutting for agriculture, ranching and development, unsustainable logging for timber, and degradation due to climate change.”
What are the effects of deforestation?
Every year we are losing 18.7 million acres of forests. Deforestation impacts the livelihood and wellbeing of people worldwide and threatens animals, plants and wildlife.
Some of these effects include:
- Negative impact on the environment
- Loss of habitat for millions of species
- Deforestation drives climate change. The trees play a vital role in protecting the soil
- Removing trees disrupts the order and leads to extreme temperature swings that harm plants and animals
- Trees play a vital role in absorbing greenhouse gases. Fewer trees mean an increase in greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere, which leads to global warming.
What can I do about deforestation?
Protecting our forests plays a massive role in maintaining the well-being of our planet. But what is it that we can do as individuals to make sure that we’re doing our part?
Deforestation falls under environmental sustainability. This means a better and healthier planet requires a better political leader. While there are many things we can do as individuals, we must elect leaders that take climate change seriously.
It is equally important to think about our lifestyles and daily habits. What we eat, wear, and consume matters. Here are some ways to help you reduce your carbon footprint.
Did you know that about one-third of the planet (31%) is covered by forests? These forests play a vital role in protecting and giving life to people and wildlife. As we have seen, the effects of deforestation are dire, and taking better care of our forests is one of the most important steps we can take in protecting our planet, the wildlife, and the human population. Most importantly, we cannot fight climate change and promote environmental sustainability without finding a severe solution to deforestation.
Image credit: Still from BBC One, Monkey Planet, 2014.