Can you imagine a world with out trees? The impact of a world with no trees on all living beings is an impact that we all need to stand up and become aware of. Deforestation is not a new problem it is one that has been going on for the last 8000 years. You may find it interesting to know that by the year 1980 15% of the world’s forests and woodlands were gone. They had been cleared away.
While the process may have started out gradual, it was steady and the 20th century saw an influx in the destruction of the rainforests. Since 1960 the deforestation of the rainforest has been accelerated, it again increased in the 1990s. Globally speaking forests play a vital role in the climate regulation and forests are a major player in the carbon sinks on earth. The survival of the forests has helped to prevent increasing greenhouse effects.
Part of the problem adding to the rate at which the deforestation is taking place is because there is no clear definition of what constitutes a forest. The definition is currently to broad to offer an protection to the areas that truly need it. You may wonder what the cause is for deforestation, why are the trees being cut down and the woodland areas cleared.
The reasons are the same as they have been from the beginning. Agriculture, cattle, logging, mining, oil and gas drilling, fires; creations of dams and megaprojects are all direct causes of the destruction of our rainforests. What does this mean to us and our world?
If the destruction of our rainforests continues we will see a drastic change in our climate and water systems. Without forests we will see an increase in the amount of CO2 that is in the air. Take a look at the numbers, from 1850 to 1990 there was a release of 122 billion metric tons of carbon released into the air due to the deforestation. The current rate of carbon in the air is 1.6 billion metric tons per year. Fossil fuel burning releases approximately 6 billion metric tons per year. The more CO2 in the air the more the greenhouse effect will be felt with an increase in temperatures all over the world.
The loss of the rainforest then also affects the climate locally. The rainforest provide a moist canopy for the plants and soil in the rainforest. The destruction of the rainforest then takes away this canopy and reduces the evaporative cooling that needs to take place for the survival and health of the soil and plant life. The is evaporation and evapotranspiration that takes place in the rainforests return large amounts of water to the local atmosphere which helps to create clouds and rain. If there is less evaporation then there is more of the Sun’s energy warming the surface and air which then leads to the rise in surface temperatures.