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Long-Term Effects of Deforestation on the Planet

October 11, 2022    7 min read

The world of civilization is expanding immensely. Because of this, we are exploiting our resources to meet the demands of an ever-increasing population. In the process, we overlook significant crisis, whose effects can be more catastrophic than any natural disaster we have encountered.

The issue is deforestation, clearing or cutting up entire forests, for mining, agriculture, and amassing natural resources.

Since the dawn of mankind, we have cleared up to 46% of trees globally and this activity is growing at a rapid stage to meet our criteria of "development".

Forests play a major role in regulating water cycles, absorbing greenhouse gases, preserving biodiversity, and acting as a natural habitat for animals.

So why do we destroy massive landscapes of forests instead of taking the initiative to grow more trees?

Deforestation in India and other developing countries is carried out for short-term economic benefits, such as making space for commercial agriculture, infrastructure construction, expanding urban areas to meet the population explosion, and an easy harvest of resources for daily needs.

Like everything, there are advantages and disadvantages of deforestation, but the latter far outweighs the former. If left unchecked, the long-term adverse effects of deforestation will have life-altering consequences.

Long-Term Effects of Deforestation:

1) Biodiversity Degradation
Forests are a natural hub for around 80% of discovered animals and bird species. It's their natural habitat and their only home. Deforestation makes them homeless and threatens them with extinction, as the forest provides them with all the essentials for survival. This creates an imbalance in the whole ecosystem.

2) Climate Change
The effects of deforestation on the environment are probably the most harmful. Forests regulate the climate through the absorption of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. They also produce atmospheric moisture and cause rainfall to stabilize the temperature and cool it up.

When trees are cut down, they release the absorbed CO2 back into the atmosphere, which increases the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. As CO2 readily absorbs the infrared radiation from the sun, it heats the overall temperature, adding to global warming.

3) Soil Erosion
A tree's roots hold the soil together. It regulates groundwater to keep it fertile and provides shade to keep it cool. When deforestation occurs, the soil becomes fragile, with rainfall eroding it away. The land becomes infertile and it becomes impossible to grow anything there, leading to massive setbacks in agriculture that create food insecurity.

4) Disruption of Local Lives
There are 1.6 billion people who depend on forests for their livelihoods. 750 million people live in the forest. They hunt and gather raw materials to aid their small-scale agricultural process. Deforestation causes a mass migration for such people, many of whom struggle to adjust to cities. They deal with disease exposure due to a change in lifestyle.

Why Plant Trees?

Trees are rightfully called the "lungs" of the planet as they purify the air and facilitate several functions of life as we know it. We must accelerate the reforestation process, not just for our future but for the future of our planet! Join the cause and plant more trees!

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