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What Is Deforestation?
Deforestation, also known as the cutting of trees, results from the removal of vegetation that is not replanted. Every year, a large area of the world’s forests is lost to deforestation. It is either caused by natural phenomena or human activities but the blame is mostly on human activities.
Logging, fuelwood harvesting, mining, and conversion of land for different purposes are among the major human activities responsible for deforestation.
See the difference between deforestation and logging.
Humans have been practicing deforestation for centuries. Throughout history, civilizations have always felt the need to clear land for different purposes and it has been carried on since then.
But little do they know about the threats that deforestation puts on this earth.
How Does Deforestation Negatively Affect Humans?
Loss Of Habitat And Biodiversity
This may sound insignificant to some people but it is the most threatening outcome of deforestation. We cannot deny the fact that a balanced ecosystem is a healthy ecosystem and humans are also a part of this ecosystem.
Humans are as equally affected by the imbalances in an ecosystem as any other species. According to WWF, about 80% of the world’s terrestrial animals and plants are inhabited in forests. Deforestation destroys their habitat and thus it becomes difficult for them to survive. Many species have gone extinct and many remain endangered.
Global Warming And Climate Change
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps incoming radiations from the sun and increases the temperature of the earth’s surface (global warming).
Forests take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequester carbon in the form of biomass. When forests are cut down, there are lesser trees to sequester carbon, and thus the amount of carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere. This leads to global warming which further leads to the concerns of climate change, glaciers melting, etc.
When it rains or when glaciers melt, trees stand in the way of water flow as their roots absorb the water and store it. But when the trees are chopped down there is no vegetation to absorb water, which then disturbs the flow of water and promotes chances of flood in some areas.
A Threat To Indigenous People
Many native people live without having legal rights to the land. The government has the right to evict them when it wants to utilize the forest for its interests. These people not only leave their homes behind but their culture as well which disturbs them both mentally and physically.
Given the above threats that deforestation puts on our environment, there is an alarming need to adapt practices at the individual and government level that can limit deforestation and promote afforestation.