Deforestation is the act of permanently destroying lands of forest in order to make space for other uses. While the extra space enables people to spread globalization, the destructive effects of deforestation are much more negative. Especially with the speed, they are moving each year. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), each year humanity deforests about 18 million acres or 7 hectares of woodland – mostly for industrial needs. This reflects highly negatively on the wellbeing of nature and speeds up the entire process of global warming. It is especially true because according to the WWF (World Wildlife Fund), 15% of greenhouse gas emissions come from worldwide deforestation. So, if you were wondering about climate change and what the reasons for global warming are, deforestation is definitely one of the answers.
While 30% of our planet is still covered in green, if we continue with the deforestation rate we have today, it is estimated that in several decades we will not have any of these vital forests.
Deforestation occurs everywhere on the planet. However, particular targets at risk are tropical rainforests. Earth’s rainforests may even completely vanish in about 90 years if we proceed at the same rate, as National Geographic predicts. The countries with serious deforestation problems according to 2016 statistics are Paraguay, Brazil, parts of Eastern Europe, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other parts of Africa.
Since the last century, Indonesia was deforested by more than 15.79 million hectares. Unfortunately, other countries are not lagging behind. In Paraguay, the population is struggling with the outcomes of deforestation of approximately 44,000 square kilometers of the Gran Chaco’s forest. It is one of the best-known South American green territories and a natural habitat of many flora and fauna species. Between 1987 and 2012, this deforested land was immediately turned into farmland or grazing land. The main reason was the rapid expansion of cattle farms in this part of Paraguay.
However, deforestation isn’t something we’ve only been facing through the latest century. This was practiced many years back in history. It wasn’t, however, continually or at such high rates. The University of Michigan issued a report stating that 90% of continental United States’ indigenous forest had been deforested since 1600. Now, most of the indigenous forest is still to be found mainly in Canada, Russia, and Alaska, as well as in the Northwestern Amazon basin.
The effects of deforestation
Having covered the major causes of deforestation, we can take a look at its effects – beyond global warming. Apart from aggravating the problem of climate change, deforestation is negatively influencing the planet in many other ways.
These are some of them:
- Loss of flora and fauna varieties: Due to deforestation, 70% of the animals and plants that previously used to live in the affected forests are continuously losing their natural habitats. They are forced to either adapt to the new, unnatural environments (i.e. treeless) or are left to die out. This leads to the serious species extinction we are facing today.
- Disturbed water and oxygen cycles: The trees that are being recklessly cut down daily are extremely important to the water cycle on the planet. It’s their job – and that of the soil they grow on – to absorb rainfall and release water vapor into the atmosphere. This way, they purify the water, help make rain possible and are in charge of stopping polluted runoff. Besides, trees produce oxygen. Disrupting the plant balance through deforestation would lead to sinking oxygen levels.
- Induced soil erosion: In many cities which are built on hills or mountains, deforestation causes a huge problem. The problems arise from serious soil erosion. There are simply no more tree roots to hold the soil together and “anchor” it. Without trees, the soil can be blown off. This causes an array of vegetation growth problems as well as sandstorms where they are not supposed to appear.
- Water pollution: In connection to the aforementioned effect, soil erosions and lack of tree roots can also cause slits of dirt. These would pollute lakes, streams, and other sources of drinkable water.
- Native tribes in jeopardy: Many native peoples today are still living in the forests that are continuously being cut down. The deforestation destroys their homes and immensely changes their way of life. In its turn, this puts the indigenous culture at risk. And of course, like all other people, native tribes depend on the forests for air, water, and weather conditions.
Afforestation vs. deforestation
There are many ways to control global warming. According to experts, one way to reduce global warming is to control deforestation. It can be done by the opposite act; by afforestation or planting trees in places that lack them. This will not only stop global warming but also ensure a sustainable and ecologically clean future for the planet. This will be of advantage for people and for all life forms on Earth.
TreeCoin is aware of the potential of afforestation and the positive effects it has on forests worldwide. Thus, through the act of acquisition of natural land, TreeCoin is able to provide a green future for the planet. Starting with heavily deforested Paraguay. TreeCoin will thereby contribute to the protection of drinking water, abundance of flora and fauna, and to the common wellbeing of the Earth’s population.