Deforestation

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Deforestation is clearing Earth's forests on a massive scale, often resulting in damage to the quality of the land. Deforestation is a problem that is caused largely by greed and want for property, money and possibly status. In many parts of the world the forest is taken for granted as a replenishable resource, which it is. The problem is that the trees cannot be regrown and replanted at the rate at which they are being cut down. For this reason the forests are declining at an incredible rate and there is no forseeable future for places like the Amazon which remained untouched for 20 000 years and now could be destroyed in less than a human's life time. Deforestation is a contributor to global warming,and is often cited as one of the major causes of the enhanced greenhouse effect. Forests still cover about 30 percent of the world’s land area, but swaths the size of Panama are lost each and every year. The world’s rain forests could completely vanish in a hundred years at the current rate of deforestation. Forests are cut down for many reasons, but most of them are related to money or to people’s need to provide for their families. * The biggest driver of deforestation is agriculture. Farmers cut forests to provide more room for planting crops or grazing livestock. Often many small farmers will each clear a few acres to feed their families by cutting down trees and burning them in a process known as “slash and burn” agriculture. * Logging operations, which provide the world’s wood and paper products, also cut countless trees each year. Loggers, some of them acting illegally, also build roads to access more and more remote forests—which leads to further deforestation. Forests are also cut as a result of growing urban sprawl. Not all deforestation is intentional. Some is caused by a combination of human and natural factors like wildfires and subsequent overgrazing, which may prevent the growth of young trees. Deforestation has many negative effects on the environment. The most dramatic impact is a loss of habitat for millions of species. Seventy percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes. Deforestation also drives climate change. Forest soils are moist, but without protection from sun-blocking tree cover they quickly dry out. Trees also help perpetuate the water cycle by returning water vapor back into the atmosphere. Without trees to fill these roles, many former forest lands can quickly become barren deserts. Removing trees deprives the forest of portions of its canopy, which blocks the sun’s rays during the day and holds in heat at night. This disruption leads to more extreme temperatures swings that can be harmful to plants and animals. . In deforested areas, the land heats up faster and reaches a higher temperature, leading to localized upward motions that enhance the formation of clouds and ultimately produce more rainfall. However, according to the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, the models used to investigate remote responses to tropical deforestation showed a broad but mild temperature increase all through the tropical atmosphere. However, the model shows no significant changes in other areas besides the Tropics. Trees also play a critical role in absorbing the greenhouse gases that fuel global warming. Fewer forests means larger amounts of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere—and increased speed and severity of global warming. The quickest solution to deforestation would be to simply stop cutting down trees. Though deforestation rates have slowed a bit in recent years, financial realities make this unlikely to occur. A more workable solution is to carefully manage forest resources by eliminating clear-cutting to make sure that forest environments remain intact. The cutting that does occur should be balanced by the planting of enough young trees to replace the older ones felled in any given forest. The number of new...
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