The Devastating Effects of Deforestation
By Guest Author Tammy Sons.
Before the proliferation of urban jungles, the majority of the Earth’s land area was covered in trees. But modern development of roads, real estate projects, buildings, bridges, and other man-made structures has resulted in rapid deforestation resulting in climate change, aka global warming. The devastating effects of deforestation are long-lasting and far-reaching with the power to impact all living things.
Deforestation Increases the Amount of Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere
All plants play a pivotal role in the circle of life. Plants get their nutrition in a process called photosynthesis, wherein they filter the carbon dioxide humans and animals exhale and use it as their fuel for their own food production. In this process, plants expel fresh, clean oxygen. This means that cutting swaths of trees has an adverse effect on the environment because fewer trees equals more carbon dioxide and less fresh oxygen. Additionally, air is riddled with pollutants from car fumes, factory exhausts, cigarette smoke, burning coal, natural gas fracking, and the like. Some credit the rise in respiratory illnesses such as allergic rhinitis, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and similar conditions with the denudation of the forests.
Deforestation Results in the Release of Green House Gases in the Air
Cutting of trees and too much land clearing releases greenhouses gases in the air, including CO2, methane, water vapor, ozone, and nitrous oxide. Greenhouse gases are molecules in the air that have the capability of trapping heat within Mother Earth’s atmosphere. We need a certain percentage of these gases in the air or the climate will become too cold. But when there are too many greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere, most of the sun’s energy is kept in the atmosphere rather than reflected into space, which traps solar heat in the atmosphere. This process is called the greenhouse effect, and it is the leading cause of global warming and climate change.
Trees do a remarkable job of managing excess storm runoff and flooding by sucking up moisture through their roots and releasing it back into the atmosphere. With the destruction of forests, there are no barriers and protective elements to regulate excessive amounts of rainwater. Without these vital root systems, the soil becomes oversaturated and floods, destroying or damaging property, emaciating wildlife and threatening human life.
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Deforestation Leads to Soil Erosion
Without the roots of trees stabilizing soil, erosion occurs of the topsoil. This results in two adverse effects: landslides and water siltation. A landslide can have catastrophic effects when land gives way and buries communities. Property and lives are lost in an instant. Water siltation occurs when fine mineral particles become suspended in water. Erosion creates water siltation and these particles end up in reservoirs, local waterways, and oceans, where they do not belong and threaten aquatic life. They disrupt the growth of corals, adversely affecting the development of marine life.
Deforestation Destroys Many Animal Habitats
The rampant denudation of forests leads to the destruction of many animal habitats. The majority of the earth’s living creatures call forests their home. The animals living there co-exist, with each serving a purpose in balancing the local ecosystem. When forests are cut down, the resident wildlife either moves on to another forested area or dies due to lack of food and shelter. In some cases, deforestation has led to the extinction of certain species, such as Spix’s Macawand Eastern Puma.Deforestation causes a domino effect across the world, including climate change, extinction of species, and reduction in biodiversity. Careful consideration must be taken to strike a balance between development programs and the preservation of forests.
Author’s Bio: Tammy Sons is the owner of Tennessee Wholesale Nursery Tn Nursery is an online mail-order nursery shipper that’s been in the nursery business for 65 years. Our goal is to not only donate plants to universities for research but areas hit by disaster with wildfires, hurricanes, and tornado devastated areas.