Deforestation has been a matter of concern for quite a long time now. And why it should not be? Trees are like a boon to mankind and every other form of life on earth. We are not even getting started on the numerous benefits trees do to us on a daily basis. Our health, our lifestyle, our way of living- trees are related to everything. Even the luxury we add to our life, posh wooden show pieces, vases and furniture are because of trees. Apart from these luxuries, we can never thank trees enough for the most important role they play in our lives, oxygen. Without trees, life would have been impossible on earth. So all in all, trees are a blessing to humanity.
It is very sad and unfortunate that we are cutting down these trees. Day by day, the number of trees is decreasing. Not only are we cutting them down, but there are also some other factors that lead to the destruction of forests and decaying of trees. But ultimately, the effect is on trees, and lesser the number of trees, more harmful is the effect on the environment. Let us just have a look at what harms do deforestation cause to life and environment.
1. Effect on Climate
Needless to say, when trees are cut down the entire ecosystem is at stake. The climate starts changing day by day in the absence of trees. Deforestation is one of the major reasons that lead to global warming. As we all know, global warming is the result of the presence of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. These gases trap heat but do not let that heat out, as a result of which the earth’s surface gets heated up, and there occurs global warming. Trees are natural absorbers of carbon dioxide, so more and more trees ensure a cooler climate. But with the rapid decrease in the number of trees the earth’s temperature is increasing, resulting in a drastic climatic change. Also, the amount of rainfall decreases due to the absence of trees. If deforestation is not stopped immediately, very soon the earth will be heated up to that extent where the heat will become unbearable.
2. Effect on the Water Cycle
The process of the cycle is interrupted due to a lesser number of trees. Trees have the capacity to hold and retain rain water in their roots, which transpire into the atmosphere and again come down to the earth in the form of rain. Due to a lesser number of trees resulting from deforestation, the amount of water that evaporates into the atmosphere is also getting lesser. As a result of this, the atmospheric moisture is getting reduced, and the weather is getting drier day by day. The absence of trees affects the water present in the soil and also in the atmosphere.
Trees not only influence the water cycle, but they are also responsible for floods that occur. Trees in forests have huge roots that spread over a long distance. When it rains, these roots store in a huge amount of water, which later plays a role in the water cycle, as explained above. So it is quite obvious that when trees are cut down, the huge amount of rain water does not get stored in the soil. As a result, there occur floods, which claim hundreds of lives.
4. Wildlife Extinction
Forests provide a natural habitat for hundreds of species of wild animals and plants. Plants and trees are already cut down which leads to deforestation. The problem starts after that. Due to the huge falling and cutting down of trees, many wild animals lose their natural habitats. Many of them are forced to move to new forests and other habitats due to this. Some of them get killed on the way. In this way, many rare species of animals have become extinct. Cutting down of trees affect the entire ecosystem and the ecological balance that is maintained in the atmosphere.
5. Soil Erosion
Every effect that deforestation leads to is a dangerous one. Soil erosion is a very common phenomenon that mostly happens due to the cutting down of trees. The relationship between trees and soil is a ‘deep’ one. No wonder, when the trees are cut down and are no longer there, it will have a severe effect on the soil as well. Research shows that the forests that have not been disturbed yet have a very low rate of soil loss. But the ones where trees are cut down in huge numbers, soil erosion occurs there. When there are no trees to protect the soil, the soil gets washed away during surface run offs. And I do not even need to explain the harmful effects of soil erosion right now.
6. Effect on the Economy
We do not understand this, but forests contribute a good part in any country’s economy. There are people who earn their bread and butter through these very forests. Now when these forests are cut down and cleared, it affects those people. Forests also bring in a great number of tourists. Deforestation affects the tourism of a country as well. Deforestation across the world reduces the global GDP in total. Also, forest products are in great demand across the world for their herbal and ayurvedic values. Deforestation results in a huge loss in the market of forest products as well.
All said and done, by now we know both what leads to deforestation and what does deforestation lead to. The causes and effects that is. While we understand that with the ever growing population and the constant change in our lifestyle, we need trees in different forms to meet all our demands. The luxuries, the necessities, whatever be it, we need trees. So in literal terms, we cannot stop deforestation. What we can do instead is keep planting more and more trees. More than the ones that we cut down. Only then can we get rid of all these harmful effects caused due to deforestation. We need to make the Earth a happier and a greener place!