The issue of deforestation has been around for quite some time.
Deforestation is “the clearing or thinning of forests by humans.” (Deforestation, 1). The most common reason why deforestation occurs is for human use. The trees that are cleared are often used for wood products such as furniture or building materials. Forests will also be cleared to make room for croplands or grazing areas for livestock. Earth has forty-nine million square kilometers of cropland, the majority of this is land that was once a forest. There is also at least two million square kilometers of land that had been cleared for grazing. This destruction of the forest is not a very good use of the land on Earth and has several consequences that will harm the Earth.
Today the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 1.3 million square kilometers of forests are partially cleared or completely cleared every decade. The most common place where deforestation is taking place is the tropics, this is because there is a large amount of different kinds of forests in this area (Deforestation,1). This rate of deforestation has been decreasing slowly because of new forest management practices and nature preserves. Although the rate of deforestation has been slowing it needs to be regulated more because cutting down mass amounts of tree removes a major source of oxygen for the Earth. Along with removing a source of oxygen deforestation would add to pollution on Earth by removing a way that carbon dioxide is taken out of the atmosphere. This is all because trees take in carbon dioxide and then put oxygen back into the atmosphere. People who are in support of deforestation are often in it for the money.
In Peru, one mahogany tree can be sold for up to $10,000 (Wallace, 110+). Another reason why people support deforestation is that worldwide deforestation supports a large amount of jobs. Both of these reasons are quite selfish and only support the people in favor of them, everyone else is harmed from the effects of deforestation. Neither of these reasons should be valued over keeping Earth a healthy and habitable planet. There are several studies of deforestation that prove that it is a bad thing for the Earth. One area that was studied was Pakistan, the information from this study was information from 2000-2015.
This study used information that only came from Pakistan, but most of the things that happen there with deforestation happen every where else in the world and shows many of the bad sides of deforestation. Although only 5% of Pakistan is forest, deforestation is still a major issue. At the current rate it has, Pakistan will soon have the second highest rate of deforestation in the world, and the rate is not slowing down. In fact, it is only getting higher and experts have estimated that Pakistan could lose all of its forest covered land within the next ten to fifteen years. (Source) Pakistan’s government has tried multiple times to make policies to limit the amount of deforestation in the country.
This sounds good at first but along with most other countries that have tried to institute policies about deforestation, there is not enough regulation of these policies once they are in place. Another problem with the regulation of deforestation in Pakistan is that there is not enough public attention to the matter. Most people who live in Pakistan have not been educated enough about deforestation and have no idea about the magnitude of the issue. One of the main reasons deforestation occurs in Pakistan is agriculture. This consists of small farmers clearing a few acres to support their families to other clearing large amounts of land for large ranches of farms. An issue with trying to regulate this deforestation in Pakistan is that croplands and livestock areas are managed between two different departments of the Pakistan government.
The two departments would be able to easily regulate the policies on agricultural deforestation if they would work together but since they work by themselves only there is often confusion on which department should take control of an area and both departments usually do nothing. This causes farmers to be able to clear any area of trees that they would like to and any amount of them. Another major cause of deforestation in Pakistan is urban construction. This is also a very common cause of deforestation everywhere else in the world and will only continue to grow as the population of the Earth continues to rise, unless there are more regulations put in place to regulate the deforestation. When an area is expanding, one of the easiest ways to create more space is to simply cut down part of or all of a nearby forest. This may sound all very easy but it has some very major consequences,”According to the US National Cancer Institute, approximately 70% of all plant species found to be effective against cancer, and approximately one quarter of the active ingredients found in existing cancer-fighting drugs are found only in the rainforest.” (Lee and Morley, 3). The cutting down of forests will remove plants species that could be very beneficial humans.
It also destroys a major source of habitat for animals. Many animals live in the trees of forests and removing these trees would destroy all of their habitat and leave them with nowhere to go. This would most likely cause these animals to die because of having no shelter, which would also harm other animals that hunt the species that live in the forests. Simply cutting down one small area of forest could cause a domino effect that could have lasting effects on the environment (Source). Poverty in Pakistan is another reason why forest are being cleared every single day.
Families that do not have enough money to afford modern fuel sources have to use would as their main fuelwood. “It is estimated that 70-79% of Pakistani households use fuelwood as a main source of energy” (Source). When families cannot afford to buy fuel sources to provide energy to their family they must use wood, which leads to the country to have to cut down more and more wood.
The consequences of deforestation can range from illegal activity happening to environmental issues that could last forever. On the illegal side, loggers will often cut more trees than they are allowed to and sell the surplus in secret so they do not get caught. The government of Pakistan limits the amount of trees loggers can cut and where they can cut them but many logging companies will smuggle trees they have cut down without the government doing much to stop them. The government issued only twenty timber licenses to try to slow down the illegal logging, but meet the country’s needs at the same time.Another instance of deforestation that shows the negative drawbacks of deforestatin is the cutting down of mahogany trees for building materials. Mahogany wood is considered to be one of the very best materials to build with and loggers can receive over 10,000 dollars for one single tree cut down. Since 2001 almost all of the mahogany left in Peru lies in Indian lands, National Parks, and territorial reserves. These are all set up to protect the mahogany from being logged.
Once the Peru government set up restrictions on cutting down mahogany loggers started targeting lesser known species of wood. These include copaiba, ishpingo, shihuahuaco, and capirona. Most people have never even heard of these tree species but they are some of the most important trees to the ecosystem in forests (Wallace, 110+). Out of all of the wood that comes out of Peru, three fourths of it is suspected to have been retrieved illegally. Loggers have started to maneuver around the regulations set on logging in Peru and are beginning to trick Native settlements into letting them get permits to cut down the logs on their reservations. The loggers will often target the poorer settlements that need money and offer them cash to allow them to log on their land. Many of the people that live on settlements that have not been logged believe that the government is not doing enough to help them out and enforce the laws (Wallace, 110+).
The way Peru’s logging industry works is that a logger must obtain permits to log any trees. These permits are meant to allow only a sustainable amount of trees to be removed from an area. However, loggers often trade permits on the black market. Once they have a permit they will log trees from an illegal area but say that they were taken from somewhere else.
These actions have left Peru with a smaller rate of deforestation, while at the same time it has increased the amount of illegal activity regarding logging in the country (Wallace, 110+).A much bigger issue than the illegal logging is the environmental issues that occur from deforestation. These effects can occur from any amount of logging that happens.
One environmental issue that is caused from deforestation is more extreme temperatures. When trees are removed the ground loses most of its water in it and it becomes very dry. This can cause areas of deforested land to quickly turn into dry desserts. The trees also provide plants and animals protection from the sun’s heat during the day and holds the heat in during the night.
When the trees are gone the animals and plants get very hot during the day from no protection and very cold at night because nothing will hold the heat in. This can be very harmful to the environment.Deforestation also causes soil erosion. Trees roots hold the soil in place and keep it from being washed away. When the trees can no longer can hold the soil in place it is washed away.
This removes lots of nutrients from the ground which makes it very hard to be able to farm or plant anything on this land. This makes the attempt of making the land that was cleared into fertile farmland, useless. Forests being cleared can also make storms more powerful than they would have been before. With the soil becoming dry and blowing away when a storm comes the soil can no longer absorb as much water as it could before, this makes deforested areas most vulnerable to flooding. With no trees left to be a wind block there will also be more damage from storms than before. There are several things that could be done to end, or at least slow down deforestation. One of them is tightening up government regulations on logging.
If governments would start to regulate logging more than that would eliminate the illegal aspect of logging. Of course they would most likely not be able to ever get rid of all illegal logging because there is so much of it, but a large portion of it could easily be fixed with more regulations. Along with the government being more strict they could also raise more awareness on the issue. Most people do not even know how big of an issue this is. If more people were informed on the topic than most likely they would try to help solve the problem.
A very simple thing that would solve the problem is making loggers do one thing. For every single tree that they cut down, they must plant at least one tree. This would make it so that the number of trees on Earth would not go down, it would instead grow.
This also would make the business of logging a sustainable one. If loggers knew that there would always be more trees to cut down then there would not be as much illegal logging. This would be because if there is not a limited number of trees in an area and everyone knows that more have been planted than they will not fight each other to be the first one to cut own those trees. This would be a very simple fix, with just a small expense. One last solution to the problem would be more recycling of paper. If all paper was recycled than there would not be as much as a need to cut down more trees to make more paper since paper production is one major reason of deforestation.