“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself.” This powerful quote stated by Franklin D. Roosevelt accurately sums up the problem with deforestation. Known as, “the permanent removal of forests or stand of trees to make land available for other uses”, deforestation has truly crippled the environment and continues to plague ecosystems on a global scale. On average, 30% of the world is covered by forests and roughly half of the tropical forests have been impacted by this process, not to mention 18 million acres of forest, roughly the size of Panama, are lost annually as stated by the FAO.
Deforestation is also responsible for almost 20% of annual global carbon dioxide emission, which FYI is the same amount of CO2 produced by all the cars, planes and trains in the world combined - whaaat, is that crazy...?? Oh yea and by the way, while you were just reading that crazy stat - 20 football fields worth of trees were just cut down, unless you are a crazy fast reader. Yep, thats right, 1 football field of trees a second are cut down in the world.
Alarming as all of these facts are, there is something that can be done to solve this problem. Once we educate ourselves about the issue, it then becomes easier to find a solution and become motivated to solve a problem that affects all of us.
Deforestation is caused by several factors such as logging, urbanization, forest wildfires, mining, industrial activities, overgrazing and desertification. What does all that mean? - stop eating all those cheeseburgers, driving the big SUVs (unless you have 4 or more kids and snowboards to load up), wasting paper, buying mega mansions, driving instead of walking to the corner store (unless you live in L.A.), you get my point. These activities may temporarily and even permanently reduce the nutrients in the soil and prevent further growth of trees and plants.
Although deforestation can be caused by natural causes such as those caused by fire, it is apparent that it is primarily caused by human activity. The repercussions of these actions can be seen and should they continue, not only will the natural fauna on our planet continue to be negatively impacted, but so will we! Trees maintain environmental balance and once these are removed, the environment becomes more prone to flooding and soil erosion. More importantly, trees assist with the absorption of greenhouse gases and play a crucial part in the water cycle. Should deforestation continue, there will be a continuous increase of greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere and furthering climate change.
Climate imbalance, another negative effect of climate change, has also impacted the atmospheric temperature and decreased the wildlife population. Also trees provide homes to several species of animals and if these “homes” are no longer available for habitation, there is a possibility of wildlife extinction and possibly our own extinction (BEES - remember this - for another story)… However, that is NOT how the story has to end. Several laws have already been implemented to prevent the further destruction of forests and ecological systems. However, these laws must be implemented and more laws should be introduced to reduce the felling of trees. The complete clearing of forests should also be banned thereby preventing the sharp reduction of trees. Also reforestation can assist as it would provide new fauna to the environment and bring it back into balance. With continuous education and political changes, it is possible to resolve the destruction of the forests. Like what just happened in Paris - hopefully some positive results come about from this rather then too much talk and caviar consumption...
FYI - I did not write this solo, but took a colleagues article and wrote on top of this with my 2 cents. But starting in 2016 I will be blogging my 2 cents on this whole landscape - no pun intended and excuse me for any spelling mistakes. Take care.
The Chief Environmental Evangelist
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One Tree Planted has partnered with Guatemala-based organization New Roots to plant 15,000 trees this year!
What makes New Roots truly unique is the holistic way in which they weave together reforestation, education, and social impact to not only protect the environment but also provide financial opportunity for indigenous people.