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Deforestation: Causes, Consequences and Solutions

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Deforestation often takes place as an effect of overpopulation, urbanization, economical reasons and government’s corruption. Due to urbanization, the demand for housings will rise, causing more land to be cleared in order for more housing to be built to house the locals. Forests are cleared for agricultural purposes, such as to grow more crops on a bigger area of land. These crops are sources of food for people. Materials from the trees, such as timber, are used for making furniture and paper products. Forests are also cleared for rearing animals, providing sources of food for the people. The surplus of the crops, animal meats, and materials from the trees can be exported to other countries to gain economic interests for the country. Mining activities are carried out on patches of land which were cleared from the forests. As the demand for more resources increase, more land would be cleared for the mining of these resources.

One of the consequences of deforestation is global warming which is an irreversible process. As trees are burnt down to increase usable land, huge amounts of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere through combustion. Also, the stored carbon that is soaked up by the trees in their lifetime will also be released into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. From food to life-saving medicines, forests give mankind a variety of gifts that contribute much to our quality of life. Deforestation will cause the destruction and extinction of many plants and animals, many of which remain unknown and whose benefits are still undiscovered. The roots of the trees can help to anchor the soil in the ground. Once the trees are cleared away, the soil will loosen as they are no longer held together by the roots and would be washed into water bodies, polluting them. Sunlight would be blocked from reaching the marine, resulting in deaths of the plants and gradually other marine lives. Moreover, as the first few layers of soil are washed away, the fertility of the soil would decrease, causing these lands to be unusable.

One of the solutions in reducing deforestation is a scheme called Redd (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) that is implemented by United Nations. This scheme puts a financial value on forests and rewards its owners for protecting them. Another solution would be carbon tax, it is a form of pollution tax collected by the government which levies a fee on how much carbon is emitted by an organisation through fossil fuels combustion. This makes using fossil fuels more expensive, thus it encourages companies and individuals to reduce consumption of energy and discourages deforestation. Consumers too can use their power of choice to prevent further deforestation, consumers can refuse to buy products of the less environmental friendly companies and eventually force them to take initiative of being more environmental friendly. Another method is reforestation which requires the plantation of new trees in place of those cut down during deforestation with our present advanced bio-technology. Having wildlife sanctuaries in the rainforests can protect both the animals and the trees and implementing fines can reduce cases of deforestation. We can have special forest plantations for the wood that is needed for the industrial purposes. This way, deforestation can be controlled as wood can be taken from this special plantations area. Having more denser housings, which means more high-rise buildings, is a more feasible way to solve land constraints compared to deforestation.

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