Deforestation is the destruction of natural forests that occurs because of logging and the unregulated burning of trees in order to generate wood and land for farming, agriculture, the construction of dams, mining, homebuilding and petroleum extraction.
The United Nations (UN) estimates that 7.3 million hectares of forestland are lost every year. If this continues at the same rate, in 100 years tropical rainforests will have ceased to exist.
Consequences of disforestation:
- It directly impacts global warming: without trees, greenhouse gases are not absorbed by vegetation and they leak into the atmosphere.
- Cutting down trees affects rainfall in the region, which in turn means less vegetation. And less rain provokes desertification.
- Trees block solar rays during the day and store heat at night. Without forests, temperatures become more extreme, which impacts wildlife and vegetation.
- Logging and burning forests destroys the habitats of hundreds of species and can lead to possible extinction.
- After deforestation, the earth can lose its green canopy, its fertility and become unsuitable for cultivation, which causes desertification.
- Forests contain waterways, such as rivers and streams. Cutting down trees can cause flooding and mudslides.
What can we do to stop deforestation?
These days, a complete halt on the cutting down and burning of trees is unrealistic, but there are things we can do to stop the impact of deforestation. For example, we can plant the same amount of trees that we cut down.
As consumers, we can choose to buy organic products that do not contribute to deforestation during their production. It’s also very important to increase awareness of deforestation and its implications. By saving forests, we are prolonging the life of the planet.