Most predictions and indicators point towards a bleak future of our planet earth. And we can blame ourselves for the state of affairs of our planet's forests.Forests are the lungs of our planet and we have steadily and with precision destroyed a lot of forests, owing to human expansion and industrialization. We have destroyed about 80% of forestlands on earth. Deforestation has steadily increased the problems of barren, useless and arid lands all over the world. Deforestation if allowed to continue at this rate will turn earth into an infertile desert. Today, large swathes of forests and wildlife are under threat mainly because of deforestation. Surveys and estimations show that on an average 78 million acres of trees disappear annually from the surface of earth. This cycle will plague our earth until and unless something effective is done to stop it.
How are we contributing to Deforestation?
In the developing countries, forests are stripped down due to the constant logging to create additional space to build more infrastructures for humans and their industries. Deforestation in this manner to accommodate for our own space has put many animals and birds in a terrible place. They have been fighting for their survival in terms of food and space but they are no match for humans. We have used our intelligence and expertise to do away with whatever we think is not essential for our survival. Hence many animals and birds including forests have entered the charts of extinction. Gradual urban sprawl and population expansion is leading to this problem of deforestation.50 million acres of forestlands gets lost every year due to deforestation. We are largely dependent on rainforest resources. From food to medicines, tourism to wildlife habitats, the rainforests are largely responsible. Their destruction will reduce our access to life saving drugs. Deforestation has widespread impacts on all the living organisms both near and far.
Effects on the forest ecosystems: When trees in a forest lands are cut, life forms dependent on those trees are also affected. The trees are the primary producers of any forest ecosystem. When the primary food supply is removed, the primary consumers are affected. They die due to lack of food. In this way the secondary consumers, tertiary consumers, and the whole cycle of ecosystem gets affected.
Effects on the biodiversity: Forest lands support biodiversity. All wild animals need their natural habitats to roam around freely, search for their food and save themselves from the attack of predators. Deforestation has destroyed their natural habitats. Their shelter is damaged and their food sources have been reduced. This has resulted in the extinction of some of the rare species. Every year, due to deforestation, over 50,000 species of plants and animals suffer extinction. In North of Beijing, the rampant deforestation has put the Pandas in danger.
Effects on thetopsoil: Due to uprooting of trees, the topsoil gets removed. The roots of trees hold the soil. It prevents the nutrients of the soil from being washed away by agents like wind and water. As nutrients are lost, the soil becomes unsuitable for the growth of other plants and crops. In this way forests grow barren. The Athabasca Boreal Forest is now a devastated chunk of barren land.
Effects on the climate: Deforestation is responsible for increasing Earth's temperature. Trees control the amount of Oxygen and Carbon dioxide balance in the region. When trees are cut, Carbon dioxide released by both animals and plants is no more utilized. Oxygen supply is also reduced. When Carbon dioxide is released in the atmosphere, they trap long wavelengths of sunlight and do not allow it to go back. This leads to gradual warming of the atmosphere.
Effects on the water cycle: Trees are responsible for maintaining the moisture content of the region. By the method of transpiration, they return the unused water back into the atmosphere. In this way the region remains moist. In this way, Amazon rainforests remain moist. Deforestation will stop this process and will turn the forest as dry as desert.
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