Clearing or removal of trees or any type of plantations for resources or land is called deforestation. Forests cover almost 31 percent of the Earths land today. The Earth is losing forests at an alarming rate. Forest area that are being lost area every decade is about the size of a nation.
The main reason for deforestation is to convert the forest area for the following reasons:
- Agricultural land
- Construction of roads
- Construction of buildings
- Food items
- Medicinal uses.
Forests are the homes to thousands of species of animals, birds, insects and many other life forms. Destroying them for resources will endanger the many life forms that solely depend on them as it is their natural habitat. These resources are very essential for man but man being greedy does not know when to stop.
It starts with converting a few acres of forest for urbanization. Then as the demand rises few more acres are cleared and this keeps on going until the entire forest is lost. Rearing livestock for milk and meat has a drastic effect on the environment. Grazing causes soil erosion which damages soil permanently so no new plants can grow there. Millions of trees are cut down for timber and for paper.
Forests take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas which causes global warming. Removal of trees is one of the main causes of global warming which in turn causes climate change. Melting of ice bergs in the Arctic and Antarctic region gradually increases the sea level, which results in the sea covering the land for containing the extra water. Forest fire is also a main reason for deforestation.
Trees take in the water from the ground through their roots and release them into the atmosphere. This loss of transpiration makes the climate drier and ensures minimum rain. Soil erosion is also a result of deforestation, where the soil become loose and results in landslides.
How can we reduce this abuse of nature? Farmers must adopt new and sustainable farming techniques to produce crops efficiently which will stop the farmers from acquiring the forest area for farming. We live in the digital age, so we must make minimum use of paper. We can use aluminium sliding windows instead of wood windows and find alternate solutions where ever it is possible. We do not want future generations to suffer for our mistakes and irresponsibility.
The various governments around the world along with many good citizens and organisations are taking necessary steps for the protection of forests. They do this by planting tree saplings where ever or whenever it is possible. Many offices are going paperless. Governments have created forest bodies to protect and maintain forest area from encroachment. Many other steps are also taken to reduce cutting of trees, which are more valuable than gold for all the resources that they give man. You and I too can help, by having small plants at our houses. By doing the best we can even in the smallest ways possible we can make a difference because one small plant for every person makes it seven billion more plants in the world.