Forestsare sources that enable us to live. They are not justcomprised of a bunch of trees that are only supposed to provide us with oxygen.Forests have a rather larger function. They are integrated ecosystems and theyare the habitat of around 80% of life on Earth.
Deforestation definitely doesmore harm than good. It leaves numerous negative effects on the environment andthe ecosystem. The main problem caused bydeforestation is that it disrupts the carbon cycle, which is linked to climate changeand greenhouse effect as well. Tropical deforestation contributes to around 20%of the world’s overall emission of greenhouse gas. Carbon is an example of agreenhouse gas. Removal of plants in the ecosystem will disrupt the carboncycle greatly.
This is said so because plants help to remove carbon dioxidefrom the atmosphere by photosynthesis, where it absorbs carbon dioxide andreleases oxygen to the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide will also be released byplants. This occurs during the normal respiration of plants. As forests are cutdown, lesser plants will be available to help in the maintenance of the carbon dioxidelevel in the atmosphere. Therefore, carbon dioxide level in the atmosphereincreases as less carbon dioxide is absorbed by plants during photosynthesis.
In contrast, the oxygen level in the atmosphere will drop as lesser plants areavailable, thus, leading to lesser emission of oxygen during photosynthesis. This is linked to the next effect ofdeforestation, climate change. The cutting down of trees will cause an increasein global temperature. This is said so because when there are lesser trees,there will be lesser amount of transpiration. As discussed earlier,transpiration will cause rain. Therefore, the clouds cover only a small areaabove the deforested region and this dramatically changes the temperature atthat particular region, resulting in a drier and hotter weather. Deforestationalso increases the amount of carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere and thus,this prevents the heat from escaping the atmosphere. This phenomenon is knownas the greenhouse effect.
Greenhouse effect will later lead to global warmingas the heat is trapped. For instance, deforestation that occurs in Sumatraconverts the rainforests to pulp plantations and this contributes toIndonesia’s high greenhouse gas emissions. Indirectly, global warming will leadto an increase of sea water level as ice bergs will begin to melt especially atthe poles of Earth.
The global surface temperature hasincreased between 0.6 to 0.9 degrees Celsius ever since 1906.
It is said thatthe sea level is rising much more quickly over the last century. Moving on, deforestation has a devastatingimpact on the biodiversity of the ecosystem. Forests are homes to around 80% ofthe world’s flora and fauna. The most visible impact of deforestation is thatthe forest habitants will lose their habitats. Some species will also not beable to cope with the changing habitat. Hence, they will begin tomigrate to regions that are suitable for them. In this period, they will bemore exposed to predators as well as natural harm. This is when predators willtry to get hold of these species in order to either obtain their skin, teeth,nails or other parts of their bodies which have a high value in the globalmarket.
As a result, they might face extinction. This will also promote anegative impact on researchers who rely on the aid of forest habitants as they will have to look for alternativesources. The loss of herbs will also cause a decline in pharmaceutical field assome herbs are used to form medicines. Apart from that, deforestation canalso cause soil erosion, landslides and flash floods. Soil erosion is theremoval of soil, layer by layer, which is due to physical and climatic processes.For example, without a proper management and development, a piece of land mayface soil erosion.
Usually, the soil on steep slopes are of thin layers butthey can support the growth and development of trees. The soil structure issaid to be unstable if there is a poor plant root system or no plant rootsystem at all. On the days with heavy rains that prolong for a long period, thetop layer of the soil will begin to crumble as it will no longer be protectedby small leaves or grass. Consequently, soil erosion occurs, leading tolandslides. This eroded soil will then be carried to water sources such asrivers or lakes by the moving water. The soil might clog some drainage systemsas it moves along with the flowing water. Therefore, once the drainage systemis clogged, flash floods may occur.
This usually occurs on rainy days. Afew scientists came up with the approximation that since 1960, part of Earth’sarable land has been lost because of soil erosion and various other factors.