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The Impact of Deforestation on People and the Environment Essay

How is the rate of deforestation, the process of cutting down forests, affecting the populations of trees and animals in the environment? The answer is quite simple, actually. Forests are crucial to the commonwealth of people, as well as scientific research and studies. Although it cannot restore extinct plants and animals, reforestation, the process of reversing deforestation, is one of the only ways of stopping the effects of deforestation. If done excessively, deforestation is harmful to people, as it is devastation for the livelihood of poor countries located in forested areas. Deforestation has many causes, with most of them being relevant to human needs. Humans need natural resources from forests, but rainforests are starting to disappear rapidly as humans keep cutting them down for their resources. In the same way, deforestation is increasing at an alarmingly fast and dangerous rate for both animals and humans. Deforestation is and has been tearing animals away from their homes, which, in effect, will give animals no shelter from their environment. Forests don’t grow back overnight.

Once forests have been cut down, it is nearly impossible for them to recover from such a tragedy once the topsoil has been exposed to the sun for a certain amount of time. On the other hand, deforestation is helpful, because the products of deforestation provide for human needs, and the wood from deforestation provides warmth for many different people. Although it is useful to people, deforestation is harmful to many animals, because it unkindly tears their homes away. This has huge impacts on global warming when trees are being cut down at such a quick rate, and there are few solutions to global warming. Forests are crucial to the commonwealth of people, as well as scientific research and studies. For example, oils found in plants are important to the survival of some people with certain illness.

Likewise, Rebecca Lindsey, author of the article “Tropical Deforestation,” writes “Some plants and oils found in the rainforests may contain ingredients that are really helpful in some medicines that may cure cancer, the common cold, and many other illnesses and infections” (2). Tropical plants in forests being cut down have very low survival chances. Likewise, the online article written on January 4, 2012, “Global Deforestation,” presents since less than 1% of tropical plants have been tested for uses in medicines, current deforestation will have consequential results in the extinction of plants. Drugs like vincristine and vinblastine dramatically improve the effectiveness of treatments for leukemia and many other forms of cancer (6). Back to talking about extinction of plants and animals, Rebecca Lindsey talks about how our economy somewhat depends on deforestation products.

For instance, on the topic of deforestation, author she describes, “First, global markets consume rainforest products that depend on sustainable harvesting…” (2). In the same way, we also depend on deforestation products for luxury, decoration for our homes, and warmth for our family. Additionally, in the online article “Global Deforestation,” the author declares “Forests are the source of numerous non-wood products, including bark, incense, oils, tanning compounds, and waxes.” (5). Cutting down forests for these products causes great harm to forests, and they might not grow back once having been cut down. For this reason, in the online article “Global Deforestation,” the author talks about a famous study by Hubbard Brook, the man who found that stream flows greatly increased because the forest was no longer transpiring water and that nutrient outflow was also greatly increased (6).

As a continuation, when nutrient outflow is increased, forests are very hard to sustain. When humans make room for cities and malls where forests ought to be, trees have no chance of growing back once the mall or city is established. Also, the author of “The Effect of Deforestation,” Rebecca Lindsey, declares “Tropical forests of all varieties are disappearing rapidly as humans clear the natural landscape to make room for farms and pastures…” (1). Trees in forests should not be cut down. They provide so much of moisture on the ground and in plants. As well as preserving moisture for plants, the author of “Global Deforestation” explains that much of the water transpired from rainforests replenish clouds and the water that maintains the rainforest. Rainforest transport great quantities of water to the atmosphere during plant transpiration (5). In conclusion, deforestation potentially puts many of people with illnesses with no cure in danger.

Many plants go extinct as a result of deforestation, and some of those plants are crucially important to medicines. Reforestation, the process of reversing deforestation, is one of the only ways of stopping the effects of deforestation. Ending deforestation will not only bring people peace with animals, but it will also give people a better world to live in. A little deforestation here and there is okay, but man has taken it too far. Also, Globalchange, the company that is the author of “Global Deforestation,” points out “Deforestation doesn’t just threaten our climate; it threatens the livelihoods of 1.6 Billion people that rely on for and economic activity…” (1). The end of deforestation would quickly put a lot of people out of jobs. It would also hurt the economy of many countries around the world.

Still, in the article “Solutions to Deforestation,” the author notes that deforestation is one of the major contributors to global warming, and that ending deforestation is one of the fastest and least costly ways of turning the table on global warming (1). What the article says is true; however, the way that man has cut down forests for the last century harms the environment in more ways than just the depletion of trees. For this reason, forests that have been completely cut down have almost no chance of growing back to their natural state; however, a forest restoration process known as rehabilitation can restore many characteristics to the structure and usage of a forest. Forest restoration is seeking to return the forests to a completely natural or near-natural state. (10). There are many ways of reforesting land. Sometimes nature reforests the forests on its own, and sometimes nature needs a helping hand from man and their ability to plant new trees.

For instance, using fire and grazing to control invasive plants, workers in countries like Guanacaste and Costa Rica hope to return the area to its original state. In other regions of the tropics, native seedlings are grown in nurseries and planted in forests to help them recover (“Global deforestation” 11). Fire can be used in more ways than to kill invasive species of plants. Fire can be used to help the trees. For instance, fire plays a major role in many forest types such as the Jackpine of Michigan, for example, which releases its seeds only when fire heats its cones. Most forests in the lower 48 states have developed typically because of fire suppression (“Global Deforestation” 10). Most of the time the government spends is atypically not spent on worrying about forests. However, there are a few laws that are in favor of slowing down the entire process of deforestation. Truly, laws like the Wilderness and Lacey Act help to stop illegal deforestation logs from being used in a variety of deforestation products such as furniture.

The Lacey Act was amended in 1949 to prohibit import of wild vertebrates and other animals listed in the Act or declared by the Secretary of the Interior to be injurious, except under certain regulated conditions, such as for research or museum display. Also, Forests for Climate is a group helping to stop the cutting down of natural rain forests. (“Solutions to Deforestation” 3). The abolishment of deforestation would also need help from man as well as laws and acts. To emphasize, by buying recycled or certified wood products, only supporting brands with zero deforestation policies and getting others to do the same, people send a message to companies to embrace zero deforestation policies (3). Although some people buy products that don’t support deforestation, not much effort is put into it by most people. Much is done to help stop the spread of deforestation, and what is being done has almost no progress.

Deforestation is harmful to people, as it is devastation the livelihood of poor countries located in forested areas. Deforestation is important to have, but too much is bad. Countries around the world have been trying to figure out a solution to cut down the need for deforestation. As a result, the effort to use the forests has been a consistent theme in the transformation of many societies, and, originally, almost half of the United States, three-quarters of Canada, and almost all of Europe were forested (“Global Deforestation” 1). Likewise, some countries might be facing the loss of forests sometime in the distant future. Tropical forests once occupied 16 million km2, and only about 8-9 million km2 of that remains. Most of the forested areas in Bangladesh, India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and parts of Brazil’s rain forest could be gone by the end of the century (“Global Deforestation” 6). But, as it is, the cutting down of forests isn’t the only problem with the excess of deforestation.

To explain, the author Nathalie Fiset, in her article “Harmful Effects of Deforestation,” presents “Lakes and rivers that are important as human resources are being blocked and polluted by heavy machinery being brought in to cut down forests” (4). When heavy machinery is brought in to help cut down forests, they need a road to get into the forest. So, the heavy machinery is used to cut down trees that can make a road. The roads, which are made up of trees, are helpful to get the heavy machinery across swamps and mud, but it is a waste of trees. The logs are typically useless by the time they’re done being used as a road. By the beginning of the century, Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East were converted from forests to what seems like desert.

The United States has already gone through its initial stage of deforestation, though (“Global Deforestation” 3). Tropical forests are also important to people who live there. Some people in the United States live in forests, and they are sometimes torn away from those people because of the forests logs. For example, the author Rebecca Lindsey thinks “Tropical forests are home to millions of native people who make their livings through sustenance agriculture, hunting and gathering or through low-impact of forest products like rubber or nuts” (3). Illegal logging sometimes reaches native areas. Some of the people there might not like that. To further explain, a quote by Rebecca Lindsey emphasizes “Deforestation in indigenous territories by loggers, colonizers, and refugees has sometimes triggered violent conflict” (3). On the other hand, some people might like to get rid of their forests so that cities and malls can be built.

For this reason, only about one-half of the forests that covered the Earth are gone, and, today, forests account for more than one-quarter of the total land area, excluding Polar Regions (2). As a result, people who are indigenous to areas are forced out of their homes. Once again, forests have been treated badly throughout the existence of human on Earth. They cut forests down for their own personal use, and they don’t even think of the consequences of their actions. Deforestation has many causes, with most of them being relevant to human needs. Human needs have affected so many forests. Additionally, as forests become more open through thinning, they become drier, and more likely to house a fire, and roads give greater access to the forests for hunters and poachers illegally trapping and killing endangered species (8). To explain, forests are sometimes cut down to build super highways and more roads in towns.

These roads are a gateway for more poachers to come in and illegally trapped animals. As stated earlier, the effects of deforestation could be disastrous when heavy machinery is used to cut forests down. In order to get the heavy machinery in to cut down the forest, a lot of the forest must be cut down to build a road so that the machinery can get in without sinking (4). Deforestation could be the effect of many human needs. Many of which involve the need for jewelry and electricity. Some of the causes of deforestation are industrial logging, mining for precious metals, and the building of hydroelectric dams (3). Deforestation, for these reasons and more, can be good and helpful to the environment every once in a while if it is to provide natural electricity.

On the other hand, the author Nathalie Fiset, in her online article “The Effect of Deforestation,” describes “Every forest that gets cut down causes less and less oxygen to reach the ozone layer, and as a result more carbon monoxide has a chance of getting into the atmosphere, causing the ozone layer to disappear” (1). Furthermore, the article “Global Deforestation” acknowledges “Productive farmland is controlled by wealthy elite with a long history of land ownership, and so many of the rural poor are landless” (9). Most of the farmland owned by the rich was once forested. In fact, the online article, “Global Deforestation,” claims “In Indonesia, powerful families allied with government rulers control large and highly valuable timber concessions” (9).

Further proof that most of the rich landowners are responsible for a major portion of deforestation, poor countries with expanding populations are especially vulnerable to the effects of deforestation. Some of the causes of deforestation are population growth, internal social and political powers, and countries; and, in many countries, some people have very little income, and forests have very few things that protect them (9). On the other hand, in different parts of the world, some families in the world have too much power and knock down forests for farmland, and other causes might include human needs. Humans have a wide variety needs such as firewood, wood for houses, wood to help build roads so that access to forests is easier, etc.

Rainforests are starting to disappear rapidly as humans keep cutting them down for natural resources. Additionally, the effects of what humans are doing include extinction of some plants and animals, conflict between people, and change in climate (1). In addition, the effects of extinction are everlasting. Once a species is extinct, it can never be restored. Equally important, deforestation causes heavy soil erosion, greenhouse effects, silting of rivers and dams, flooding landslides, denuded upland, degraded water land, and destruction of corals along the coast (2). Now, these affects don’t only affect the forests, they affect people as well. Soil erosion and landslides in extreme cases have sometimes been known to bury houses. Now, since 1600, 90% of the original forests that have covered the lower 48 states have been cleared away, and the remaining 10% are mostly on public lands (4). . Nathalie Fiset, renowned author of the online article “The Effect of Deforestation,” exclaims “…deforestation has been found to contribute to global warming as more harmful rays of the sun come in through the atmosphere” (1).

To show how this works, Nathalie Fiset also explains: Forests are greatly helping reduce the amount of pollutants in the air; so, the depletion of these groups of trees is greatly increasing the risk that carbon monoxide would reach the atmosphere and result in the depletion of the ozone layer, which in turn results to global warming…” (“The Effect of Deforestation”). Also, after a tropical area has been clear cut, the area will most likely be used for farming, but only the area will not be good for farming because the soil will have been exposed to the sun for a long period of time, which will cause the soil’s nutrients to be drained (3). Finally, when the forests are cut down, so are the animals’ food sources, and when their homes are cut down, most animals die from starvation, increased competition for food, and more contact with humans (4).

As a result of deforestation in areas populated by so much wildlife, animals are forced to roam around some cities. To sum it all up, deforestation has nasty consequences that affect not only ours, but animals’ everyday lives. Once done, deforestation cannot be undone. Deforestation is harmful to many animals, because it unkindly tears their homes away. This has a huge impact on global warming when trees are being cut down at such a quick rate, and there are few solutions to global warming.

A plan of action to end deforestation would be for governments in different countries to pass different laws, encouraging if the government did, in fact, pass more laws on banning deforestation for people to stop what would then be illegal. People will continue to carry out deforestation as the human population is increasing in numbers every day, the demand for more living space and materials will continue to skyrocket. As the article “Global Deforestation” emphasizes, “Deforestation doesn’t just threaten our climate; it threatens the livelihoods of 1.6 Billion people that rely on for and economic activity…” (“Global Deforestation” 1).

Works Cited
Fiset, Nathalie. “The Effect of Deforestation.” Ezinearticles. Ezinearticles, 31 Mar. 2007. Web. 8 Feb. 2012. Fiset, Nathalie. “Harmful Effects of Deforestation.” Erosion Control-Site. Erosion Control, 6 Apr. 2009. Web. 8 Feb. 2012. Lindsey, Rebecca. “Tropical Deforestation.” Earthobservatory. NASA, 30 Mar. 2007. Web. 8 Feb. 2012. Patatunda, Rita. “Causes and Effects of Deforestation.” Buzzle. Buzzle, 13 Dec. 2011. Web. 8 Feb. 2012. “Global Deforestation.” Globalchange. University of Michigan, 4 Jan. 2012. Web. 8 Feb. 2012. “Solutions to Deforestation.” Greenpeace. Green Peace U.S.A., 2012. Web. 16 Feb. 2012.

Works Consulted
Bjorn, Lomberg, Peter Bunyard, and Marc Johnson. Global Resources-Opposing Viewpoints. Detroit, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2003. Print. Brown, Lester, John Attorian, and Stephen Moore. The Environment-Opposing Viewpoints. New York, NY: Greenhaven Press, 2005. Print.

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