Deforestation is the process of removing forest areas and using the land for other uses. These other uses can include settlements, industrialization or agriculture. Even though people are becoming more and more aware of the serious effects deforestation is having on the earth, the number of forests being destroyed is still very high. The main question about the effects of deforestation on the environment clearly is – are we destroying our own future?
By practicing deforestation the forest areas provide lumber for commercial materials, farming and grazing land for the every growing cattle population, charcoal as fuel for cooking and heating. Roads and mines are being built as well as towns and cities.
Forests are becoming exhausted in developed nations and our attention is now on the tropical areas, more specifically the tropical rain forests. We are dependent on forests for our livelihood. As the forests disappear, resources are becoming scarcer. Third world or underdeveloped nations are being extorted for their forests and are given minimal return for the damage done to their own country.
Depletion of the tropical rain forests will have a profound effect on the environment. Climate change is the primary effect of losing the rain forests. Greenhouse gases are being emitted and allowing heat to protrude through the atmosphere. This prevents the heat from escaping, causing warmer temperatures.
As greenhouse gases are emitted more rapidly into the atmosphere, less and less heat will be able to escape. This will cause significant rises in temperatures over the next century. The main cause of large emissions of greenhouse gases is deforestation.
An essential part of our biospheres are our forests. They are here for the regulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. The forests utilize carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and also store it underground. As the forests disappear, there is no use for the atmospheric carbon dioxide.
As the climate warms, there will be an even bigger increase of carbon dioxide emissions. More carbon dioxide that is put into the atmosphere will cause less oxygen for humans and animals to breathe.
Erosion of soil is also a negative effect. It occurs due to the exposure to the sun and the rain. Nutrients such as nitrogen are being wiped out. The land is becoming less fertile. Forests also act as water storage and are essential for the regulation of the water cycle. The rainfall is absorbed through the roots and is released back into the atmosphere. Without forests the area becomes drier and the water is depleted in the ground. This diminishes the water resources.
As the forests disappear, future generations will be severely affected. So, are we destroying our own future through deforestation? Yes, we are. If we do not stop the deforestation effect, the Earth will begin to heat to crisp, water will no longer be recycled and we will be unable to breathe in the air without respirators.