Deforestation – Problem Identification, Impact, Solutions And Recommendations

Problem Identification – Deforestation

Deforestation is the clearing of forests. In the last few decades the percentage of the earth’s surface that was covered by forests has reduced drastically. This is due to deforestation and encroachment of human beings into the forests. Many terms are used to describe destruction of forest. Some of them include: forest degradation and forest fragmentation. Forest degradation refers to any action that that results to reduction in the quality of forests such as fires. Forest fragmentation is division of a large forest into smaller sections which can be caused by forest degradation.  Similarly, forest fragmentation can also cause forest degradation. Some of the reasons why human beings participate in deforestation is in search of timber for building houses and for sale, charcoal, papers, increasing of farming land, search of ranching areas, search of settlements as well as to extract ingredients that are valued from trees such as palm oil. (Assefa & Bork, 2012)

Impact of Deforestation

Deforestation has great effects which endanger the survival of mankind, animals and plants.  Some of the effects it has on land are causing flooding and erosion. When forests are continuously wiped out, soil cover is reduced and thus in times of rain, rain drops hit directly to the ground causing erosion. Besides, tree roots hold soil together preventing erosion and thus when trees are constantly eliminated, the effects is worse. The top soil is wiped out. The effect of this is that the top soil goes away with the humus and thus if the farmers can no longer have plenty yields due to the effect. The trees also cannot grow on the land again; it almost results to a permanent effect. (Culas, 2014)

Deforestation results to global warming. Destruction of forests increases the level of carbon monoxide in the air. This results to formation of a layer similar to a blanket in the air that holds the sun’s heat intensity and thus resulting to climate change. Other effects on air are removal of the canopy which results to drastic temperatures lasting for a long period. This affects the crops leading to low yields and also reduces grass availability thus reducing animal food. This effect is also accompanied by disruption of the water cycle thus leading to lower amounts of rainfall, longer dry spell and low yield. Trees absorb rain water during rains which is then released to the atmosphere for formation of rain Reduction of forests reduces the vapor released to the atmosphere and thus less rain is formed. (Sydenstricker- Neto, 2012)

Most of the water sources are known to come from the forests. Forests cover the mountains that have ice and thus there is a continuous flow of water. Forests also cover the other water points such as wells and thus sunlight cannot reach them resulting to their continuous production of water. With continuous reduction of forests resources such as fired wood have been on the decline resulting to people to turn to alternative sources of energy such as electricity, gas, and sunlight. The reduction in the resources is likely to worsen as times goes on because destruction of natural forests has been on the rise each year. It is estimated that in the USA, the Amazon forest has been declining by four hectares each decade. The effect has been worse in developing nations where corruption has intensified and thus traders of wood products bribe the forest management leading to a great depletion of forests each year. (Yao, Liang, Cheng, Lin, Jia, & Liu, 2014)

The effects of forest destruction have not left plants. Forest plants have found no habitation due to human encroachment which has resulted to destruction of most of these plants. Erosion that results from clearing of trees also makes it impossible for plants survival as the top soil is depleted. Forests plant also thrive well below the trees; when the trees are cut down, they can no longer hold to the intense sunlight and thus most of them end up drying. (Culas, 2014)

Wild animals are severely affected by the loss of trees as habitats are lost. Animals also die as a result of hunting during the period of tree clearing. Deforestation also o goes hand in hand with destruction of forest plants and grass. This therefore, leads to massive deaths of animals. Animals that live water are also affected greatly by clearing of forests. This is because the practice results to reduction in rain and thus reduction in water and finally drying of streams and rivers. Animals in those rivers and streams thus lack food, water and oxygen and thus die. (Sydenstricker- Neto, 2012)

Human beings are also affected by deforestation. Trees are known to absorb gases in the atmosphere and replace the m with fresh oxygen. Reduction of forest cover and increase in industrialization has resulted to increase in foreign gases which have health implications on human beings. Reduction in rainfall has resulted to reduction in food production and this is thus a threat to human survival. Destruction of forest has also resulted to reduction of animals such as bees which are known for their important role of pollination on plants. Their decline is thus also a danger in food production. (Assefa & Bork, 2012)

Solutions to Deforestation

The problem has been addressed by major stakeholders over a long time though a lasting solution has still not been found. There has been a global initiative by the United Nations to ensure that 10% of the earth’s surface is covered by forests. The initiative has however, not made much success as only few nations have been able to implement it while in other nations the situation has continued to worsen. (Yao, Liang, Cheng, Lin, Jia, & Liu, 2014)

Communities have also been involved in saving the declining natural resource. Many non- governmental organizations have been on the ground to educate the communities on the need to conserve forests. There has been also an urge to involve the community in forest management by allowing them to participate in tree planting, nursery preparation and also overall managements of the forest so that they can join in the campaign to restore forests. Many corporate activities are also regularly performed by the government and nongovernmental organizations which include games, shoes and competitions which are all aimed to emphasize on forest protection If corporations have the ability to destroy the world’s intact forests, they also have the power to help save them. Corporations should introduce zero-deforestation policies that encourage production of timber or paper fiber in a way that minimizes the impact on climate and natural forests. (Culas, 2014)

Laws have also been developed to help curb the depletion of forests. Such laws include labeling of timber whereby the trees that are cur legally are marked in a special manner that is identifiable by government officials and thus preventing illegal tree cutting. Many nations have also banned charcoal burning in a bid to rescue the forests. (Assefa & Bork, 2012). Education about forests has also been incorporated in many school curriculums so that a child grows with the knowledge of conserving forests. The students are taught on the importance of tree planting and are even involved in the actual process during the ‘annual world forest day’.

Governments have regularly sought to solve the problem of landlessness so as to reduce encroachment of forests and human- animal conflicts. However, due to the rapid growing of populations, it has been difficult to settle all the landless individuals and thus the problem has continued to persist. There has been also a global initiative called ‘forests for climate’. The initiative seeks to encourage protection of forests. Governments that are seen active in protection of forests are usually funded by the initiative in their projects. (Yao, Liang, Cheng, Lin, Jia, & Liu, 2014)

In terms of technology, there have been inventions on alternative sources of energy and alternative methods of farming. People have been encouraged to shift from use of firewood and charcoal and use electricity, gas and sunlight. There has been also development of special jikos that consume lesser energy. Also industries that use firewood in their processing have been encouraged to use electricity so as to save the forests. Better methods of farming that are known to increase food production have also been devised. These include farming in green houses and use of drip pipes in their small farms. People have also been encouraged to look for alternative sources of income and thus stop relying on farming as their only means. (Assefa & Bork, 2012)

In science, there has been a continuous campaign of use of recycled materials. Companies have been urged to recycle wood products in order to save the forests. Increase in technology has led to increase in use of electronics such as computers in schools which have almost replaced use of papers. This is a great step towards saving of the forests as it will save the timber that would have been used in production of papers. (Sydenstricker- Neto, 2012)

Recommendations

Considering all these a few recommendations would have worked well to solve the situation. Education on forests conservation needs to be encouraged among the local people. They need to be informed the effects of deforestation so that they can minimize the practice of deforestation. In terms of technology, more inventions should be developed on alternative sources of energy to minimize the over reliance of wood as the only source of energy. (Culas, 2014)

More rules and regulations should be developed by the legislature in different nations so as to curb misuse of forests and enhance lawful use of the forest resources. Strict measures should be taken upon the violators so as other people can fear to be entangled in the same legal game trap. In terms of politics, there must be an urge for government to provide more settlement for their people so that they do not encroach forests. In terms of economics, products that are made from other materials such as plastic should be encouraged to replace the wood products in order to save our forests from further depletion. (Yao, Liang, Cheng, Lin, Jia, & Liu, 2014)

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