Why is stopping deforestation important?
We all know that we should do something worthwhile to stop deforestation and stay ahead of climate change.
But have you ever wondered why stopping deforestation is actually so important?
Believe it or not, deforestation accounts for up to 20% of greenhouse gas emissions and is the third largest source of human-produced carbon dioxide, behind only energy production and transportation.
Still, these are plain numbers. And sometimes it’s hard for average people like me to understand how a single person can contribute to actually stopping deforestation.
In this article, I’ll explain why it’s important for us, individual human beings, to feel responsible for stopping deforestation.
1) Forests are a major human resource
Let’s start with the most basic reason why it’s important for us to stop deforestation.
In simple words, forests provide us with a lot of resources that we can’t live without.
They are home to more than half of the world’s population and provide over 40% of the oxygen in our atmosphere.
Deforestation leads to the loss of wildlife, the loss of habitat for wildlife, and the loss of valuable resources.
But now you might think that I mean wood and paper in those resources.
So, let’s try to answer this simple question:
Can you live without resources such as wood, paper, and wood pulp?
The answer is yes, you can.
But here, I mean completely different types of resources such as oxygen, water, and trees.
Trees are the major source of oxygen on the Earth. They provide us with clean air to breathe and act as a natural filter for pollutants.
Forests supply us with vital resources, from food and medicine to clothing, shelter, fuel, and building materials.
In fact, forests are the reason why we have clean water, pollution filtering, and soil conservation.
Sounds impressive, right?
Well, forests provide us with a wide range of benefits, in both economic and non-economic terms.
These benefits include:
- Freshwater supply – Forests act as water filters and store large amounts of water. As such, they can help to prevent flooding and drought.
- Climate regulation – Forests play an important role in regulating the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
- Fossil fuel substitute – Forests can be used to produce biofuels that can be used in place of fossil fuels, thus helping to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
- Food supply – Forests provide fruits, nuts, and vegetables that can be eaten by both humans and animals.
So if we don’t have trees, we don’t have clean air to breathe, and we can’t live without them!
2) Deforestation leads to climate change
Whatever reason we mention why we should preserve forests, everything goes back to climate change.
It’s not just about oxygen or water or trees or animals…
Forests are also directly linked to climate change, as they help maintain a steady temperature by absorbing greenhouse gasses.
As a matter of fact, climate change is the most important reason why stopping deforestation is vitally important.
As forests get cut down and burned, they release massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. And this has a direct impact on global warming and climate change in general.
So guess what?
If we don’t stop cutting down trees, climate change will continue to get worse.
The problem is that many people are unaware of the relationship between deforestation and climate change.
And believe me, even though now I try to protect our environment as much as I can, that was what I thought years ago when I was a kid.
“Do we need to cut down trees? Who cares?! It’s just another tree. And besides, we have so many of them that we don’t need to worry about it.”
Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit, but I actually couldn’t find a clear link between deforestation and climate change.
For instance, I didn’t realize that deforestation makes it more difficult for trees to absorb carbon dioxide, which causes climate change.
But now I realize that if we had stopped cutting down trees years ago, climate change wouldn’t be so bad.
As a matter of fact, without forests, life on Earth would not be possible.
When we cut down a tree and burn it as firewood or clear land for agriculture, we release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
This does not only lead to climate change but also contributes to air pollution, which leads to health problems such as asthma and lung cancer.
The disappearance of forests will lead to a large-scale shift in the world’s climate and weather patterns.
Biodiversity loss will be one of the most significant results of deforestation, as species are forced to move to more habitable areas or become extinct.
Deforestation also contributes significantly to air pollution and global warming, as it removes trees that absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
And speaking of carbon dioxide, let’s move on to the next reason why it’s so important to stop deforestation as soon as possible.
3) It’s a cause of carbon emissions
Did you know that deforestation is one of the largest causes of carbon emissions?
And imagine, based on the data from Climate Council, cutting down tropical forests results in about 4.8 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
Yes, this is a huge number. And it means that if we do nothing about it, the planet will continue to experience more and more climate change.
If left unchecked, deforestation could ultimately have devastating effects on our planet.
Forests act as natural carbon sinks as well as natural filters for clean drinking water.
They also provide homes for a wide range of plants and animals and supply useful products such as fruits, nuts, oils, medicines, spices, timber and other wood products.
That is why I believe that people should be aware of this.
Because if they know that deforestation is one of the leading causes of climate change, then they will stop doing things that are harmful for our environment.
And yes, I know it’s not easy to give up on something you’re used to or something that you enjoy doing like camping or barbecuing with your friends.
But please do consider this: when you cut down a tree and burn it, you release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and contribute to global warming.
No matter what people say, there are no benefits in cutting down trees because our planet can no longer support the destruction of forests and their wildlife.
Here’s how deforestation leads to increased carbon emissions:
While it’s true that forests store carbon, they also emit carbon.
When a forest burns, it releases a large amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is a major source of climate change.
When humans cut down forests without replanting new trees, or when they use methane-producing cattle, sheep, goats, and other animals as a source of food, they release large amounts of methane into the atmosphere.
When forests are destroyed and there is less carbon stored, the increased methane gas leads to more rapid climate change.
What do you think?
If we don’t stop deforestation soon, our planet will become hotter than we can imagine.
So, try to motivate yourself to do your part in saving the environment.
And if you have a friend who also loves to go camping or barbecuing, please share this with him/her.
We might not be able to stop all the deforestation in the world but we can at least do our share to save our planet.
4) Forests are home to many organisms, including humans
Now let’s look at the matter from a completely different perspective.
Humans have been living in forests for a very long time.
They are home to a wide variety of organisms, including plants, insects, fish, birds, and mammals.
So you know what?
Cutting down trees directly means that you’re leaving someone homeless and destroying their home.
Humans have always lived in forests, and many cultures have developed in forests.
Can you imagine that more than 200 million people live in forests nowadays?
As many as 1.4 billion people directly get resources from forests.
Given that forests cover about 30% of the world’s land area, it is not surprising that so many people have chosen to make forests their home.
While forests can provide a home for humans, humans also play an important role in forests.
In fact, forests depend on humans for survival.
Humans can help to sustain forests and the organisms that live in them in a number of ways, including:
- Creating and maintaining parks and protected areas – These protected areas can be used to preserve forests and other habitats and protect organisms that live there.
- Harvesting plants, seeds, and other products from forests – Harvesting plants, seeds, and other products can be done in a way that is compatible with protecting forests and the organisms that live in them.
- Limiting the spread of diseases – Humans can help to limit the spread of diseases that affect forests and the organisms that live there by following certain practices, such as preventing the movement of insects, plants, and fungi between forests and human places.
For example, the forest is where we get most of our food from.
Forest products like fruits, nuts, oils, and medicines are also important to us. We use them every day and they’re an important part of our lives.
If we didn’t have forests where would we get these things from?
So if forests disappear, then we will be in trouble.
Well, there are many other animals living in the forest who can’t live anywhere else. They need the forest to survive too. You never know what’s going to happen if the forest disappears, so all creatures living in it should try to protect it because they can’t live without it either.
And it’s not just animals and plants that are affected by deforestation.
As a result of increased carbon emissions, the atmosphere gets warmer, which causes sea levels to rise and polar ice caps to melt.
This leads to the flooding of coastal areas and even entire islands.
So what can you do?
You can plant trees in your own backyard or start a project in your community to plant trees in public places like schools, parks, and hospitals.
Planting trees doesn’t mean you have to stop doing other good deeds like donating clothes or toys for children in need.
It’s just another way of helping our environment and all living things on this planet we call home.
5) Food security and nutrition are at risk
Want to know another key reason why stopping deforestation is important?
Well, it helps to improve food security and nutrition.
In the past, forests were able to replenish themselves quickly, but deforestation has caused forests to deteriorate at an alarming rate.
The result is that the forests are producing less fruit and fewer plants. This is dangerous because forests are responsible for a large portion of the world’s food supply.
More than a quarter of all agricultural crops depend on forests in one way or another. If forests are not properly protected, they are at risk of dying out completely.
Without forests to provide food, many people will be left hungry and malnourished.
Forests are also used for the production of a wide variety of other products.
These products include wood, which is used to build houses and furniture; rubber, which is used to make tires; and medicinal plants, which have been used for centuries to treat various diseases.
What does it mean?
It means that deforestation will not only affect food supply and nutrition but also the availability of other products that we use every day.
Without forests, many of these products will become much harder to obtain.
So what can you do?
Educate yourself about the dangers of deforestation. Learn about various ways you can help protect forests. Plant a tree and encourage others to do so as well. You can also volunteer to work in a forest conservation project or create your own project to help protect forests.
6) Forests are a source of traditional medicines
This one might be a little bit unexpected but forests are a source of traditional medicines.
Have you ever wondered why so many people from different countries travel to the Amazon Rainforest to find healing plants?
Well, it’s because there are a lot of medicinal plants that can be found only in the Amazon Rainforest.
But here’s the thing:
Most people don’t realize how important forests are as a source of traditional medicines.
Many natural products used as medicine today come from forest plants.
For instance, think about aspirin from willow bark or quinine from cinchona trees.
And these aren’t just old wives’ tales: modern scientific research has shown that these medicines really do work!
Many modern medicines are discovered in forests.
So you know what?
It means that deforestation not only threatens the future of forests and the plants and animals that live there but also threatens the future of traditional medicine.
If we lose our forests, we risk losing our ability to treat many diseases. And this could have a devastating effect on human health. Think about it: what would happen if you didn’t have access to modern medicines?
You would be left with no way to treat many serious illnesses!
7) Deforestation leads to soil erosion
If you’re not really into ecology, chances are that you don’t know how soil erosion works and why it’s such a big issue.
But it is important to know about it because soil erosion can cause droughts and floods. It can make it harder for plants to grow and makes land less suitable for farming.
And that’s not all: soil erosion can also lead to desertification.
The thing is that forests play an important role in regulating the water cycle on our planet by regulating humidity levels and preventing soil erosion.
Without forests protecting our precious soil, we’re going to have a much harder time growing food for ourselves in the future!
That having said, deforestation contributes to soil erosion by removing trees, the plants that anchor the soil in place.
Without trees, the soil becomes loose, making it more likely to be carried away by wind or water.
What’s the result?
This can cause flash floods and droughts when the rain washes away topsoil, reducing its ability to absorb water.
As a result, rivers, and lakes become shallower and drier while deserts expand.
It means that deforestation contributes to climate change which is one of the most serious threats facing our planet today!
And we’re not talking about just your basic climate change here: we’re talking about massive hurricanes, severe droughts, frequent floods, and rising sea levels!
Of course, you want to help stop this from happening, don’t you?
After all, even if you don’t understand how harmful soil erosion is, you do know how easy it is to prevent it: by planting more trees!
8) Deforestation is linked with poverty
Okay, at a first glance, it might be hard to notice a direct link between deforestation and poverty.
But the thing is that deforestation is closely linked to poverty: many countries all over the world are still struggling with poverty because of deforestation.
What’s the link?
It’s simple, really: deforestation leads to soil erosion which in turn makes it harder for people to grow food.
As a result, they have less food to eat and they can’t earn as much money as they need to improve their lives.
Let me explain how this happens.
As we’ve already explained above, deforestation is responsible for massive amounts of carbon emissions every year.
But it’s not just about CO2 – massive deforestation also leads to soil erosion which can be devastating for impoverished areas that rely on farming as their main source of income.
Deforestation also contributes to climate change which can lead to severe weather changes and droughts, making it even harder for people to grow crops that they can sell or eat.
What’s worse, this vicious cycle continues: without a way of earning money, people can’t afford education or healthcare, which means that their children will be less likely to get an education and improve their lives in the future.
This means that poverty will continue for many generations!
And it’s not just about depriving people of enjoying better lives in this world: it’s also about depriving them of being able to enjoy life at all!
Think about it: if you don’t have access to clean water or enough food, you’re going to die!
So what can we do? The easiest way is just by planting more trees.
Trees hold soil in place so that it doesn’t get washed away by rain or wind.
That having said, planting more trees won’t totally solve the problem because some countries are already experiencing severe soil erosion due to deforestation!
9) Protecting the environment is important – for our own health
And the one last reason why it’s vitally important to stop deforestation is that it’s necessary for our own health.
The truth is that one of the main reasons to care about forests and the health of the environment is that the environment affects our health.
In fact, the environment is often called “the forgotten organ” because it is so important to our health but often goes unnoticed.
The environment prevents diseases and other health risks by regulating temperature, supplying oxygen, filtering toxins, and regulating water.
It also provides protection from natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes. If we want to stay healthy, we need to take care of the environment.
And that’s why you should try as hard as possible to protect the environment and save your health.
Yes, it’s not easy to think from a long-term perspective and plant a tree with a mission to save the whole planet.
The thing is that we can’t see the result very quickly.
But you should convince yourself that protecting the environment is beneficial for your own health, and that is why you should do it.
Final words – why should we care about stopping deforestation?
All in all, the world is losing its forests at an alarming rate. Vast areas of forest are being cut down and burned to make way for farms, settlements, logging, mining, and oil palm plantations.
And deforestation has been shown to have a variety of negative effects on people and the environment.
That’s why we should care about stopping deforestation, partly because deforestation is a major cause of climate change.
So, another time you start looking for reasons why stopping deforestation is so important, remember that if we fail to stop deforestation, there will be less fresh water, less food, and less space for animals.
Thankfully, there are many ways for us to stop deforestation and protect the environment. So, try to contribute to changing the world for good a bit.