The Threats of Deforestation

Dhruthi Mahesh

Forests cover around 31% of the land we live in. The Earth is home to hundreds of species of animals, purifies the air, and provides reservoirs for water. It also acts as a sink for carbon dioxide which would otherwise end up in the atmosphere, and is the site for a lot of recreational activities we partake in.  However, these forests are slowly disappearing, and in its place are industrial factories, buildings, and residential houses. 

Forests are one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on this planet. The Amazon Rainforest alone is home to over 10 million species ranging from dolphins to tiny insects that roam the forest floor. Biodiversity is key to the sustainability of an ecosystem because it provides many food resources, and the complex system of ecological niches help break down nutrients and keep the ecosystem healthy and stable to enable it to survive a potentially dangerous disturbance. The loss of biodiversity ceases new pharmaceutical and medical discoveries with forest plants if species that can play an important role in medical cures are becoming endangered or extinct. 

Deforestation also has many indirect and direct effects on humans as well. Forests are known to absorb carbon dioxide which would normally end up in the atmosphere. With a lack of forests, vegetation would dry up and the land would be more susceptible to forest fires which are known to dangerously impact humans. More lost habitats for animals also proposes the issue of potentially dangerous animals stepping foot in our residential areas. 

It is estimated that around four hundred twenty million hectares of forest land has been lost since the year 1990, and it is estimated that ten-million hectares of land is lost yearly due to deforestation. Deforestation and the loss of biodiversity have very alarming effects on our environment, but there are solutions and prevention methods to preserve our forests. A method to help cease deforestation, is simply to refuse to purchase products that have been acquired through deforestation methods such as biscuits, margarine, and body creams that contain palm oil that have been extracted from large plantations that were created from destroying forest land. Petitions are also a good way to help cease deforestation projects on South American and African rainforest lands. Along with participating in petitions and resorting to forest-friendly  and environmentally conscious products, you can also speak up, be an activist, and educate fellow students and peers on deforestation and its effects on the environment and the human population. 

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