In recent times, mankind has felt the wrath of nature. More and more natural disasters are taking place due to human induced climate change. This has lead to an increasing awareness of our impact on the planet we call home and it’s natural resources. Forests are some of our most abused habitats due to the fact that wood is a raw material with a wide range of uses and fill virtually al of our basic needs particularly food, fuel and shelter.
Another important influencing factor for deforestation is the need for more land, so forests are cleared to make way for industrial development, housing or agriculture (either livestock or crops) or even a dump.
Deforestation is the clearing or removal of trees from an area of woodland or forest for many differing reason usually commercial. Deforestation usually doesn’t apply to cases where the trees are replaced, usually as saplings, in the same or alternative location in order to replace those that were cut down. Also usually refers to large scale clearing of whole areas rather than limited or selective clearing.
Man has cut down trees since we first appeared, changing and adapting the environment to suit our needs in order to provide the things we require to live successfully. For kindling, shelter, weapons and in more modern times paper, furniture and housing. Thousands upon thousands of acres of forest have disappeared worldwide to fill our insatiable appetite for wood and land, yet they also have to meet the demands of the vast majority of the worlds other species both plant and animal.
Humans are roused to action when an issue directly affects them. This is undoubtedly the reason people are more aware than ever of the effects of deforestation as more and more people become affected by climate change and extreme weather events.
It is these effects that are the most effective way of showing people the benefits forests provide and why it is so vital the little we have left be protected at all costs. The depletion of the forests has a number of detrimental effects on the environment and climate. There are two main thrusts to this argument. The first is the environmental services that forests provide such as maintaining our atmosphere and slowing global warming and protecting us from floods. The second is the need to ensure a reliable and sustainable supply of natural resources. I.e. if they are being used and managed properly and ensuring reforestation occurs.
First the environmental benefits forests help maintain the balance of gases in the atmosphere particularly oxygen and carbon dioxide. The trees ability to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and trap it is our most important weapon in the battle against climate change. Cutting down and burning trees releases the green house gas back into the atmosphere worsening the problem. It is these green house gases that are causing global warming and extreme weather events.
In many cases the timber is simply burned to clear the land quickly which is the worst possible thing to do especially when it could be put to good use providing for those who might be in need of it. Finally woodland traps water and act as sponges when water levels are high reducing the chances of flooding.
What can you do to help?
Can one person make a difference? Absolutely. Even if it just you thing of all the trees you can save by reducing just your own or your families waste. Plus you will find once you start people will take notice and you can spread your knowledge and convince them to do there bit too. There are many simple things you can do reduce the amount of packaging you buy and recycle all paper-based waste. Small actions done by enough people regularly add up to make a massive difference.