By: Harshiya Thevarajan

Listening Earth

'Rainforest Sanctuary'- album sample by Listening Earth


Before you proceed any further, please play the audio clip above in order to enjoy the soothing sounds of the rainforests as you read on.

What is deforestation?

Imagine being an animal living in the rainforest. You've been living in the rainforest all your life and adapted to the environment for generations. Now imagine seeing big bulldozers crushing down all the trees, the place where you called home. After, you look around to see nothing but loose branches and leaves scattered on the ground. Your shelter is gone. Your food is gone. Your life is gone.

This example is a result of deforestation. Forests cover approximately 31% of the earth's land. However, many forests around the world are threatened by deforestation. Deforestation is the state of being clear of trees. it comes in many forms such as forest fires, clear cutting for agriculture, development, etc. Approximately 46-58 million square miles of forested land is lost each year due to deforestation, this is equivalent to 36 football fields every mintue.

Below is information based on the causes, impacts and future goals to help reduce deforestation.

Why do we need this resource?

Forests help produce vital necessities for life such as oxygen and provide homes for people and wildlife. Approximately 1.6 billion people reply on the benefits that these forests have to offer such as food, fresh water, clothing and shelter.

Forests also play a major role in mitigating climate change because they act as carbon sinks and soak up the carbon dioxide in the air.

Deforestation eliminates natural processes and causes significant amount of carbon dioxide to be trapped inside of the atmosphere. An estimated of 15% of green house gases are a result of deforestation.

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What are the causes?

There are many causes of deforestation. here are some of the main causes for deforestation:

1) Fires: These are beneficial and natural to occur in many forested landscapes however, if they occur at the wrong time, it can be extremely problematic. This eventually threatens biological diversity, alter water cycles and destroys many homes for animals and people who live in and around these forests. Every year, approximately million of acres of forests around the world are burnt by forest fires. This amount is equivalent to the amount of loss due to logging and agriculture.

2) Illegal Logging: This occurs all around the world in many different countries. There are many national law that protect the amount of production and trade of timber products. However, in many countries around the world, these laws are violated in many ways such as cutting down wood from protected areas, harvesting more than what is permitted and harvesting protect species who are endangered.

These destructions destroy some of the world's most valuable forests, uncluding the Amazon and the Congo Basin. Poorer communities near these forests have a greater disadvantage when outsiders try to gain control over the forests because they end up losing their homes and natural traditions.

What specific impact does the use of this resource create?

Many industries and people do no realize the significant negative impacts deforestation can create. Below are some of the many impacts that is caused by deforestation:

Reduced Biodiversity :

- Approximately 80% of the world’s species can be found in tropical rainforests. Majority of these forests are the most vulnerable to deforestation. When animal species lose their homes, they are often unable to adapt to the small amount of forested land left behind. As a result of this, animal species, especially herbivores are more prone to starvation due to the lack of vegetation. This then slowly impacts the entire food chain as it will leads to endangerment or extinction. In addition, as more animals are left to roam bare land, they become more accessible to hunters and eventually become extinct.

Increase in Greenhouse Gases

- Forests help mitigate greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. However, when these trees are destroyed they become carbon sources. With an increase in greenhouse gases, this contributes to the rising in the earth’s temperature. Change in climate can have a negative effect on animals in the forest as it will alter their habitats and availability of food and water.

Disruption of Water Cycles

- Trees help keep the local water cycle by keeping a balance between the water on land and in the atmosphere. When deforestation occurs, the balance is disrupted resulting in changes in precipitation and water flow.

Disrupted Livelihoods

- Many people around the world depend on forests around the world. Whether it is for hunting, building homes, food or clothing. Forests also help filter the air for people reducing the risks of diseases such as heart disease. However, deforestation can negatively impact people’s lives, sometimes leaving major consequences. Many people disobey the laws and perform illegal logging. This significantly impacts the people that live in or around the forest because it destroys their homes and lifestyle. Sometimes this may cause the people to move to another place where they may be abused and forced to work under inhumane conditions.

Impacted species and place:

Below are some examples of impacted species and places suffering from deforestation:

What are we doing to help sustain this resource?

With the demand for more buildings and roads, deforestation is increasing drastically. However, there are many organizations and groups that are taking the initiative to help sustain these forests. An example would be WWF (World Life Fund). This organization created the GFTN (Global forest and Trade Network) linking hundreds of companies, NGOs and forest-dependent companies to help create a market for environmentally responsible forest products. As a result of this program, many habitats have been preserved for endangered species such as the Borneo Pygmy Elephants, Orangutans and Great Apes.

How to make this resource sustainable in the future:

Although deforestation has already impacted many forests around the world, we can help prevent this from happening in the future. These are some of the ways to avoid and reduce deforestation:

Reduce Deforestation:

Although eliminating deforestation is not possible as a whole, sustaining forest management and protecting protected areas can help reduce deforestation. By following these norms, it is necessary that we help protect these forests so that they can maintain ecosystems, create more habitats and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Promoting Sustainable

For thousands of years, humans have used forests for fuel, mainly wood and charcoal. Altering these fuelling system to sustainable materials such as oil and fats, sugar and starch crops can help reduce the need to cut down forests. These materials can help save these forests which will eventually increase the reduction in greenhouse gases and increase habitats preventing endangerment.

Creating Protect Areas

Protecting forested areas can help decrease deforestation drastically. Protecting these areas can help save animals from habitat loss, starvation, hunting and other killings. Imposing stricter laws and regulations on illegal logging will help improve these types of conflicts. In addition, securing forested areas as parks or other protected areas can help preserve vital plants and animal species for further generations.

Overall, many industries and people fail to realize the benefits these forest have to offer. they help create homes for animals, plant and insect species. With these forests these species have no where to go and end up in human populated areas. This results in hunting and killings of animals. Eventually, these vital species become endangered or extinct due to human activities, Not only do forests help animals but they also help people. These forests help cleanse our air and provide vital necessities for life. Like mentioned previously, the health of the Amazon Rainforest has a direct link to the health of the earth. With an increase in deforestation, there will be a significant increase in climate change due to the increase in carbon level, which will impact wildlife and human health as well. In conclusion, it is absolutely crucial that we these forests form deforestation or we will have to face problematic consequences in the near future.

Say NO to deforestation!

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