Deforestation is the removal of trees to create space for civilization, industrialization and agriculture.
Per minute, roughly 36 football fields of forests are lost to deforestation. Eighteen million acres of forest, which is roughly the size of South Carolina, is lost per year (Penman). At this rate, all forests on earth will be gone in 100 years. Deforestation has been occurring for almost 60 years, and already half of the earth’s rainforests have been cleared. Forests cover about 30% of earth’s land, and that number is decreasing by the minute. Deforestation is more prevalent in poorer countries such as Indonesia and Brazil. Typically, deforestation occurs because three main reasons: civilization, industrialization, and agriculture. Cutting down trees for paper production is another leading cause of deforestation. Over four million tons of paper from deforestation are used to create junk mail. This junk mail seems to be a waste, as 45% of it goes unopened (“Second life”). Although deforestation allows for more industrialization and civilization, it needs to be stopped because it is a leading cause of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, it endangers many animals who live and rely on the forests, and it threatens the existence of the earth’s forests.
Deforestation releases large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, also known as CO2, is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the earth's atmosphere. Trees absorb carbon dioxide in a similar way that humans breathe in oxygen. When these trees are destroyed in large amounts, the absorption of carbon dioxide stops, and the CO2 that was stored in these trees are released into the atmosphere. Deforestation is responsible for the emission of over 17% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, making it a leading cause of global warming. Forests play a huge role in the carbon dioxide cycle on our planet, since they absorb a majority of the CO2 in the atmosphere. After a tree is cut down, the CO2 is emitted no matter if the tree was burned, or even if it was left to rot after the deforestation process (Penman). Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses trap heat radiating from earth towards space, thereby keeping in heat and eventually raising the earth’s temperature. With forests being destroyed, and trees being cut down, massive amounts of CO2 are emitted, as the world's forests contain over 283 billion tons of carbon dioxide (“Seeing REDD”). Burning and cutting down trees are the main two methods of deforestation. In some cases, forest fires are started on purpose to quickly destroy a large number of trees. Deforestation reverses the effects of carbon sequestration, which is the natural way that carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere. As deforestation rates continue to rise, the overall well being of our planet dwindles, as it is being affected by the high levels of carbon dioxide.
Deforestation endangers many animals who live in forests. Forests are home to a majority of plant and animal life on earth. With deforestation threatening the very existence of forests, it also threatens the very existence of the plants and animals that call forests their home. Forests cover 31% of the land area on our planet, and they produce vital oxygen and provide homes for people and wildlife (“Second life”). Many of the world’s most threatened and endangered animals live in forests, and 1.6 billion people rely on the benefits that forests offer, including food, fresh water, clothing, traditional medicine and shelter (“Deforestation”). Because of deforestation, up to 28,000 species are expected to become extinct by the next quarter of a century. In fact, tropical rain forests cover 6 to 7% of the earth’s surface, which contain over half of all the plant and animal species in the world. There are more than 121 natural remedies in the rain forest which can be used as medicines. With many rainforests being destroyed, the medicines are also being destroyed, therefore, we are losing the opportunity to research them.
Deforestation threatens the very existence of many forests on earth. Extreme loss of natural forests affect many aspects of different people’s ways of life. 1.6 billion people across the globe depend on forests for their livelihoods. Over 4,500 acres of forest are cleared every hour by forest fires, bulldozers, and machetes. The total world loss to date is near 7.3 hectares per year, which is roughly the size of South Carolina (“Stop deforestation”). At this rate, in 100 years there will be no forests left. There are different ways to help stop deforestation. Money to save trees from deforestation is mostly collected online. You can find many websites that accept donations, and are leading supporters of forest protection. You can also help by signing petitions that are trying to put an end to deforestation. Another good way of preventing deforestation is boycotting companies that support it.
Although deforestation allows for more industrialization, more civilization, and increased agricultural, it’s negative effects outway the positives. It needs to be put to an end because of its harmful emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, its endangerment to many of the animals that live and rely on the forests, and it’s posing danger upon natural forest and the livelihoods of many people's ways. Without deforestation, we would live in a world with less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a larger population of forest animals, and increased amounts of medicines that are discovered in forests. We would have the ability to add to our forests, instead of taking away from them. A world with no deforestation is a world that would be beneficial in a every way imaginable, and as Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength of our people” (“9 Inspiring Quotes”). Forests play a huge role in the earth’s well being, therefore as much action as possible should be taken to save our forests.