Throughout history forests have spread and retreated as the environment changed now they are fast disappearing. They shelter the vast majority of land animals and hold most of the land biodiversity. These beautiful and complex ecosystems are essential to the environment and help to regulate the atmosphere. Hence deforestation and climate change are closely connected and have the ability to control one another.
Unfortunately the forests, which should be our first line of defense against rising carbon dioxide levels, are vanishing rapidly. 80% of our previously forested areas are gone drastically reducing the planets ability to absorb carbon dioxide and contributing to the high levels of the green house gas by releasing it after being cut down making the situation worse. The fact that deforestation can further affect the atmosphere should stir us into action to prevent any further reduction in the world’s forests. We will just be adding to the devastating effects of climate change if we don’t take action to stop further deforestation.
Major Carbon Storehouses
It has become increasingly apparent that forests play a vital role in climate control by storing carbon and water and recycling it. It is a fact that the destruction of green areas is a contributory factor in climate change and eliminates their ability to regulate the climate. It has been estimate the 18% of all carbon emissions come from deforestation and we are effectively turning our prize weapon against global warming against ourselves instead.
Mature forests are the largest stores of carbon dioxide though all plants store carbon. Other stores include the soil, vegetation frozen underneath the arctic permafrost even the algae in the sea. The world largest forests such as the Amazon represent our largest carbon stores, it’s destruction would undoubted lead to quick and devastating climate change.
Carbon is released from plant life through burning and natural decay. Burning releases the carbon much faster and more efficiently than natural decay or rotting. If left to nature plants will rot slowly especially large trees and the carbon is often buried and the carbon trapped below ground where it slowly fossilizes to produce various compounds depending upon the conditions ranging from diamonds to fossil fuels over many millennia. This whole process traps the carbon and prevents it entering the atmosphere. Deforestation prevents this natural process from taking pace.
A combination of deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels releasing much larger amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than would occur naturally whilst simultaneously disabling the planets ability to absorb and cope with this influx in green house gases has lead to the current climate changes and noticeable global warming. The main effects of climate change have been a rise in temperature throughout the year leading to widespread environmental change species moving their ranges further north to follow the increase in temperature. Melting of the polar icecaps leading to a reduction in range for polar species. A consequent rise in sea levels leading to flooding of low lying land. More violent and extreme weather systems leading to the devastation of affected areas and causing huge loss of life.
This isn’t a prediction of what will happen in the future it’s happening now and maybe irreversible already. So now a immediate damage limitation exercise need to take place to ensure the climate doesn’t get out of control this has to involve the protection and restoration of the worlds forests.