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The

Facts on Deforestation
By Hannah Bisbing


Image courtesy of Flickr


Trees. We see them everywhere. They stand tall among their companions in the forest,
offer their limbs for children to climb upon, and provide fresh oxygenated air for us
humans to breathe. Forests cover approximately 30% of the Earths surface and come in all
shapes and sizes - ranging from tropical, to temperate, to coniferous. But, can you imagine a
world without trees? Judging from global deforestation trends, you might very well have to.

Today, the lungs of the Earth are being threatened by ravenous deforestation.
Deforestation is the process of clearing natural forests through logging and/or burning.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, agriculture is the primary cause of mass clear-
cutting, with logging companies timber and paper production being a close follower.
Natural events like wildfires or overgrazing of land are also contributing factors in the
global disappearance of forests. In order for the effects of deforestation to be diminished, a
change in lifestyle needs to occur.


Between 12-15 million hectares of forest are destroyed each year, which equals
approximately 36 football field-sized areas per minute. As stated by Energy Conserve
Future, an online resource devoted to natural conservation, If the current rate of
deforestation continues, it will take less than 100 years to destroy all the rainforests on the
earth.

Destruction of forested lands is currently causing a variety of highly negative
consequences. The environment, wildlife, and humanity are all being impacted. For forest-
dwelling species, forest removal is the equivalent of habitat destruction. Deforestations
elimination of large amounts of flora and fauna is a major risk to global diversity,
particularly in places like the Amazon Rainforest that houses 50% of the worlds species.
Permanent damage to forests also results in lower oxygen supplies and increased
greenhouse gas levels. Since trees play a critical role in absorbing greenhouse gases that
fuel global warming, atmospheric temperatures will heighten at a faster rate.

Furthermore, if modern deforestation trends continue, disrupted water cycles, soil erosion,
and altered livelihoods incur. Without global forests, lifestyles for those who rely on forests
for sustenance, medicine, and raw materials will dramatically change. Food supplies will
also become scarce, medicinal products will stop being produced, trade will slow, and the
general health of the planet will suffer.

To combat this issue, reforestation is an obvious first-step. Planting more trees to replace
those lost will begin to make a positive impression on barren lands and the carbon cycle.
However, if we want to live in a world where life-altering climate change, desertification,
and carbon emission-overload are not serious threats, reforestation alone is not enough.
We need to change our ways of life to become more sustainable and less ecologically
damaging. Ending slash-and-burn agriculture, cutting our demand for tree-products, and
practicing better conservation of forested areas will make a larger impact in the long run.
To protect our world from deforestations destructive implications, we need to change our
ways of life to become more sustainable and more environmentally conscious.


Sources:
http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/deforestation-
overview/
http://www.livescience.com/27692-deforestation.html
http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/various-deforestation-facts.php
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Deforestation/deforestation_update3.php
http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/about_forests/deforestation/