Deforestation persists to be one of the biggest environmental challenges in the world. More and more forests are cleared to create room for farming and the extraction of timber among other raw materials. In many parts of the world, the original forest cover areas have been reduced by more than 20% and some areas have been completely deforested. This calls for a serious action against deforestation because it is constantly contributing to more serious environmental problems. Global warming and wildlife destruction are just a few among the very many environmental problems in the list attributed to deforestation. Here are 20 solid reasons to stop deforestation.
Forests … are in fact the world’s air-conditioning system—the very lungs of the planet—and help to store the largest body of freshwater on the planet … essential to produce food for our planet’s growing population.
~ Charles, Prince of Wales
- Trees are needed for breathing. Without the trees, we cannot breath! Through the photosynthesis process, trees take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and give out oxygen which supports our breathing. All living creatures need oxygen to survive and because the forests play an impressive role of availing oxygen, it is imperative to protect them by stopping deforestation. Trees also improve air quality by absorbing toxic chemicals from the atmosphere.
- Trees produce water. Trees are an integral part of the water cycle. Research proves that 75% of the world’s water originates from the forests. Trees continue the water cycle through a process known as evapotranspiration. In simpler terms, it absorbs the water from the earth and release it into the environment as tiny droplets after which they rise and cool to from clouds and the clouds bring rain. So, deforestation is killing the water cycle and by doing that we are constantly turning the earth into a desert.
- Forests help reduce the risks of flooding. Forest offer wonderful land cover and reduces the speed of storm water runoff. At the same time, it absorbs excess water and stores it for future use. Forests can thus help in reducing the risks of flooding because it lessens the speed of water flow from the hills and mountains into streams and rivers. It also helps the earth to absorb the water and release it steadily. Therefore, stopping deforestation will result in decreased vulnerabilities to flooding.
- Trees are climate regulators. Trees are otherwise termed as the world’s natural fans. They fan our environment and surrounding will cool breeze that help to regulate global temperatures. They also act as insulators by absorbing and reflecting away some of the sun’s heat thereby reducing the heat and scorching effect of solar radiation. Deforestation must therefore be stopped in order for the world to have sustainable environmental temperatures.
- Forests help combat climate change. Forests serve as the most practical utilities for combating climate change. They constitute the largest carbon sinks on earth which makes them suitable for addressing climate change. In particular, forests store about 2.8 billion tones of carbon annually. When these trees are cleared, besides the stored carbon being released back to the environment, fewer trees are left to absorb the greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. And with climate change, extreme weather events will continue shaking the world.
- Forests protect biodiversity. About 80% of all species of plants and animals live in the forests. Deforestation and the damage of forest habitat is the main contributor of species extinction in the planet. An increasing number of animal and plant species are disappearing from the face of the earth, and quite a number are at the verge of extinction. In order to protect the planet’s biodiversity, we need to put a stop to deforestation.
- Humans, plants and animals rely on the forests for survival. Forests provide shelter to more than half of the world’s plants and animals. At the same time, forests support the livelihood of more than 1 billion people. Out of the 1 billion, 60 million are the indigenous people who are almost 100% dependent on the forests. So, this means that deforestation is directly affecting millions of plants, animals, and even humans and must be stopped by all means necessary.
- Forest maintains a balance of the ecosystem. The ecosystem is made up of a complex chain of plant and animal activities. These activities supplement each other and ensure the correct balance of the entire ecosystem. For instance, certain species of insects and birds depend on certain plants to survive and vice versa. By clearing the forests, we are disrupting this balance which has far-reaching environmental consequences.
- Forests make our day to day life better; why not protect them to better the life of the future generation as well? If we take a keen look at our surroundings, we’ll realize the essentiality of forests. Almost every vital product that we utilize to benefit our life has some element of forest product within them – from our roofing materials, furniture, magazines, to essential oils. If we stop deforestation, we will be saving some of the forest resources for the future generation as well.
- Rainforests are great medicine sources. The majority of the pharmaceutical products and essential medicines are drawn from the rainforests. The plant and animal life in the forests is reported to host more than one quarter of the world’s medicines. The US National Cancer institute, for instance, points out that 70% of the 3000 plants with active cancer inhibiting ingredients are from the rainforests. Deforestation has to stop for there to be more medical treatment advancements.
- Deforestation is responsible for more carbon emission. The world needs to know that deforestation accounts for about 12% of the total carbon emissions. Because forest stores carbon, every tree cut down releases the carbon into the atmosphere. The emission of carbon from deforestation is equated to an annual vehicular emission of 600 million cars. Deforestation has to be stopped to effectively address this problem.
- Stopping deforestation is an integral part of addressing global warming. The action against global warming and climate change is the responsibility of each and every citizen. In a bid to work together in addressing this agenda, we need to protect against the loss of trees in every corner of the world. In the long-term, we will be able to reduce the occurrence of destructive weather elements in the forms droughts, heat waves, floods, tsunamis and hurricanes that pose huge economic and health risks.
- Forests provide basis for some of the world’s irreplaceable cultural heritages. Among the many cultural heritages that exist in the world, forests hold the most inspiring ones and others haven’t even been discovered yet. Forests host a wide range of unique cultural groups which cannot be found in any other habitats. There are millions of indigenous people who have maintained their traditional livelihoods and social setting just as in the “pre-intelligence” era. Deforestation has to stop to preserve the irreplaceable cultures and even to discover new ones.
- The solution for addressing deforestation is by stopping it. The solution for mitigation deforestation seems to be farfetched while we already have it with us. It is as simple as putting a stop to deforestation. Countries and nations that are committed to stopping deforestation are already doing it. Indonesia and Brazil are great examples. Hence, the world has no option but to stop deforestation as a strategy for mitigating the menace.
- Stopping deforestation is cost-effective. After serious analysis, green experts and analysts concur that the cheapest approach to combating climate change and reducing green house emission is by stopping deforestation. The analysts have conclusively shown that reducing greenhouse gas emission is to a great extent less expensive compared to reducing emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels.
- Deforestation exacerbates social conflict and violence in forest communities. The forest communities are considered as the most peaceful people because they constantly interact with nature. Nonetheless, deforestation without the approval of the local forest communities can create social conflict and violence. The local forest communities depend on the forests for their survival and shelter and for this reason, clearing the forest without them knowing often attract retaliatory attacks in a bid for them to protect their livelihood and homes. This has been witnessed in areas such as Brazil and Southeast Asia.
- Stopping deforestation solves a myriad of problems. Stopping deforestation can significantly address numerous challenges including the protection of millions of animal and plant species, reducing global warming, flood prevention, restoring indigenous livelihood and above all, investing for a more sustainable future. As a result, the benefits of stopping deforestation are countless and at the same time highly beneficial thereby necessitating its initiation.
- Dealing with deforestation shows the world’s commitment about a sustainable future. The planet really needs our action to protect its sustainability and plan for the future generations. By instituting measures to stop deforestation, it shows that we are serious about the future of the planet including the children who will inherit it from the present generation.
- Forest loss is not stopping. More and more forest cover continues to disappear. As much as the forests cover about 30% of the earth, the daily forest loss is about 200 km2. Illegal logging takes down most of the trees. In the past 30 years, approximately 18% of Brazilian Amazon has disappeared. The only solution to this persistent activity is putting a stop to deforestation once and for all.
- Forests serve various economic functions. Forests are attributed to various economic functions. From the provision of food products, essential oils, rubber, herbs, medicines, wildlife, to important social goods, the list is endless. These functions can only remain sustainable if deforestation is stopped.
- Forests guard against soil erosion and landslides. Forests acts as the protectors against soil erosion and landslides. It is a fact made clear from the cases of some of the worst landslide disasters associated with forest clearing. An example is the Southern Leyte rock-slide/avalanche in Philippines. Furthermore, soil erosion declines soil fertility which results in poor produce.