Discussion of the Issue of Deforestation

Discussion of the Issue of Deforestation

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Deforestation is the amputation of trees from forest areas more
swiftly than they can be replanted or regenerate naturally. The fact
that trees play an incredibly momentous part in stabilising climate,
atmospheric composition and soil structure, removing trees rapidly
becomes a major problem.

There are numerous reasons behind the felling of trees by mankind. The
Amazon basin is a prime example of humans exploiting rainforests.
Within this tropical rainforest lie a vast variety of tree species,
with many uses, giving humans even more reason to exploit this area.
Timber and especially hardwoods like mahogany and ebony are being
felled at an alarming rate to satisfy the needs of the swiftly
developing world. Another problem for the forest areas of the world is
the type of agriculture used by some peasant farmers known as "slash &
burn". This method of farming involves the burning of trees to add to
the initial supply of nutrients in the soil. Over time this supply
slowly wares down and so the farmer once again moves onto another plot
of trees to slash and burn. This cycle is repeated over and over every
time the nutrient supply becomes exhausted. As you can now figure out
the forest areas (of which still remain!!) are being destroyed at a
large scale and at a rapid speed.

Underground resources such as iron and aluminium ores are used a great
deal in the industries of the developing countries. To obtain and
transport has to be quick, easy and the cost has to minimal. To make
all these possible roads are being built through forests. These cause
a great deal of damage to the forests because more trees have to be
removed again to mine this merchandise. Brazil is once again a prime
example of forest destruction. The population of poor shanty towns are
being encouraged by the governments to move to the forested area. This
once again means the felling of trees. You can work out that only 1 of
the forests in the world is being destroyed by humans in so many

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different ways to suit their way of life. Personally I think the
problem is getting so worse mankind does not even have a care for the
species habiting within the forest and the actual beauty of the
forest. Third world countries which don't have enough money to turn
the forests into business parks, office buildings, flats etc are still
destroying forests by means of cutting down the trees to use them for
fuel because the country is so poor this is the only fuel source
available. The luxuries of the western world such as body creams, bath
oils, sweets, fruits and nuts, etc are all used and eaten with no
consideration where the origins are and what damage was caused to the
environment obtaining them. As these products are becoming more and
more popular the demand for them increases and so more damage has to
be caused to the forest meeting this demand.

About 16-20 million hectares of tropical rainforests are removed each
year!

The exclusion of hefty areas of forest has brought about a large
number of adverse effects. The major effects are augmented soil
erosion (which leads to increased flooding in most areas), lessening
in biodiversity, the Greenhouse Effect, condensed fertility of land in
deforested areas and disturbance of the hydrological cycle.

The destruction of trees increases soil erosion. It's explained as
follows; in forested areas, flood water is absorbed into soil and
taken up by tree roots. The water then is transpired through aerial
parts of the plant into the atmosphere, where it forms clouds and is
transported to drier regions. In deforested areas, the flood water
runs across the deforested area and is not stopped by vegetation. The
top layer of soil is eroded during this run off process and gets
transported into rivers where it causes the level of silt to rise.
This rise in river level causes floods to occur more frequently. This
is how the destruction of trees increases soil erosion

However, the protection which a forest gives the soil against erosion
is not provided by trees but by the lower shrub layer and by the leaf
litter. Raindrops falling from tree leaves have a higher kinetic
energy than those falling in the open and therefore the soil would be
disturbed more by the dropping of water from tree leaves than by rain
if it weren't for the protective ground cover layer. A very large
proportion of the water (around 75%) which reaches the soil is,
however, returned to the atmosphere by the larger trees, and this is
the part they play in preventing flooding.

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