Major deforestation is a known issue today, but not many think about it as more than just a statistic. Though forests still cover roughly 30% of Earth’s surface, forests as large as half of England are being cut down each year. At the current rate of deforestation, rainforests will no longer exist within 100 years (National Geographic). What are the main causes of deforestation and what is being done about it? We will explore these topics in the following paragraphs.
The main cause of deforestation is agriculture, specifically subsistence farming (48%) and commercial agriculture (32%). The two other causes of deforestation is logging (14%) and fuel wood removals (5%) (UNFCCC). However, not all deforestation is done with intent, for instance, natural wildfires and overgrazing (National Geographic).
What can we do about this exponential advance of deforestation? Sustainable forestry is one option. As you might have guessed, sustainable forestry focuses on doing as little damage as possible to the ecosystem in which the forests reside. The regimen for this practice is planting trees after logging, cutting back on soil erosion, and limiting damage to habitats and water purity (Seattle PI).
Since one of the main causes of deforestation is clearing land for agriculture, erosion control is pertinent. Erosion control consists of maintaining soil quality, and matching crops and farming techniques with terrain. The maintenance of soil quality results in less deforestation, as it lends to less clearing of land for agriculture (Seattle PI).
Another action that can cut back on deforestation is stewardship. This implies the caring of indigenous people residing on land scheduled for logging and agriculture, the monitoring of legal troubles and abidance, and aiding farmers while logging is happening in their areas. You can become an independent steward, but you can also join The Forest Stewardship Council as well, or at least support it (Seattle PI).
Our forests are rapidly disappearing due to agriculture, logging, fuel wood removals. However, with the help of sustainable forestry, erosion control, and stewardship, we might be able to properly fight back against the total elimination of the world’s forests. Though the future looks bleak, humankind has almost always stepped up to the challenge of solving our problems when the situation is truly dire.
Nationalgeographic.com. (2017). Deforestation and Its Effect on the Planet. [online] Available at: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/deforestation/ [Accessed 4 Oct. 2017].
UNFCCC (2007). “Investment and financial flows to address climate change” (PDF). unfccc.int. UNFCCC. p. 81.
Education.seattlepi.com. (2017). Cite a Website – Cite This For Me. [online] Available at: http://education.seattlepi.com/things-being-done-deforestation-3349.html [Accessed 4 Oct. 2017].