Imagine the future if the rate of deforestation occurs at a rate of just 15 hectares annually? At that rate in just 30 to 40 years the worlds forests will have been turned into arid barren wasteland useless for any purpose. Climate change would increase dramatically and many millions of species, possibly us included would be extinct. Bleak, yet that is the reality of what we are facing unless we take action to put a stop to it now.
This is possible but it will require a massive effort from the public and consumers to pressure the government and those responsible to achieve a halt to the reduction in shrinking of our forests. The challenge is huge but not by any means insurmountable we have the answers we just need to make sure they are put into practice to stop deforestation.
The Top Five Causes of Deforestation
There are many different causes for deforestation and they vary widely from location to location. The top 5 include logging (both legal and illegal), industrialization, agriculture, oil exploitation and human disasters. All can be tackled but it is unlikely we will ever get rid of deforestation altogether but as long as we replace what is lost and manage the vast majority of forests sustainably we can solve the problem and prevent forests shrinking further and perhaps even allow areas to be planted in order to bring back what has already been lost. Well-managed woodlands can actually grow whilst supplying timber on a commercially viable scale.
Forest fires can be started naturally or deliberately and are becoming more common as temperatures rise. Large areas can go up in flames very quickly threatening not only forests but also crops and homes nearby. Education may help in teaching people not to start fires in vulnerable areas and forest fire fighting equipment and expertise will help to put out these fires quickly and reduce the amount of damage. Many areas recover quickly from fire as seeds and some plants and animals have natural defense mechanisms that protect them during fires. This recovery can be aided by replanting and leaving the areas surrounding untouched allowing the plants and animal to recover and recolonize.
Illegal logging is difficult to tackle yet governments need to have legislation and effective means of enforcing that legislation in order to protect their forests and natural resources. In countries that are struggling with these issues outside help and cooperation maybe needed if possible.
Legal logging need to be tightly monitored to ensure it is done in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way as possible ensuring that workers and those who protect the forests are paid a decent wage. Money can also be raised through tourism to these beautiful and diverse places. Again the right legislation and enforcement is required, though this is difficult to achieve in some places it should be worked towards if possible. Ideally a balance will be struck between supplying what is needed and protecting the habitat for wildlife. This is possible through sustainable management and replanting programs.
The need of land for agriculture, industrial and living purposes is an ever-increasing pressure on wild areas and forests and a major contributor to deforestation. This is one issue that is not easily resolved. Again a balance needs to be struck between the need to have and preserve a certain amount of forested land and development. Ultimately we have to accept that the planet can only support and physically have room for a certain number of people and the expansion in our numbers cannot and will not go on forever.
Can deforestation be stopped?
The answer to this rests with us, it is this generation at the eleventh hour who have the knowledge and ability to act. If we leave it to the next generation it will simply be to late and the forests won`t be there to save. There are many differing groups that will have to work together to achieve an end to deforestation environmental and conservation groups, governments, consumers, corporations as well as those who actually work in the forests. We need each and every one of us to take a stand and do our bit.