SO245 Assignment 4 Environmental Impacts of Deforestation

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Environmental Impacts of Deforestation

Social Impact of Technology

SO245

Introduction

Deforestation refers to the destruction of trees in the masses. The major causes of deforestation include overgrazing, farming, mining as well as mining, they all contribute significantly to deforestation. However, some natural factors such as wildfires also contribute to deforestation in addition to urbanization. Due to increased population, forests are being cleared to create room for people to build homes and this consequently leads to disruption of natural habitats for animals. Companies that produce oil, as well as those that produce paper, have contributed to deforestation, besides, all the above factors are overlooking the long-term advantages of having forest for short-term benefits (Eisner, 2016). The impact of deforestation is diverse from threatening the existence of some species, climate change, affecting our ecosystems, weather patterns, ability to grow crops among other factors. This paper therefore will evaluate the impacts of deforestation on our environment, however, it will only focus on disruption of the carbon cycle, disruption of the water cycle in addition to the reduction of species diversity.

Overview

Trees are necessary to help absorb the carbon dioxide exhaled by humans, however, their absence increases its concentration in the atmosphere. They provide balance through photosynthesis and preventing global warming by reducing the excess heat that is produced (Baccini, 2012). Plant transpiration is one of the ways trees ensure that there is water in our atmosphere. When this happens, clouds are refilled and then set off rain which also then maintains these forests. On the flip side, when there is deforestation, rain becomes absent in these regions and eventually rivers dry up temporarily and sometimes permanently. The biodiversity of a certain area could decrease in the phase of deforestation; this is because cutting down trees destroys the natural habitat of many plants and animals. When such changes happen, some species could have a hard adapting and thus dying.

Disruption of the carbon cycle

Humans need to cut trees for one reason or the other but mostly is to maintain a lifestyle. People in rural areas depend on firewood for heat or to cook, deforestation is also done to create room for agriculture, build shelters as well as produce products made from wood. As the world population increases, habitats need to be built for people and they will require wood for various reasons. The issue comes up when humans do not practice afforestation after they practice deforestation. The carbon cycle which is also referred to as the greenhouse gas effect also has an impact on global warming. The amount of carbon in our atmosphere is regulated by the trees as well as the forests that we have through photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process by which plants make food via carbon(IV)oxide. If this carbon dioxide is released in large amounts, it creates a layer that traps heat which ends up warming the earth and if it in excess amounts, it causes global warming.

Disruption of the water cycle

Trees contribute significantly to ensuring that there the atmosphere has water vapor by tapping moisture from the roots then releasing it through transpiration. This consequently forms clouds and then rain which maintains forest and consumable plants. Deforestation, therefore, causes climate change whereby the temperatures could affect land that could be used for agriculture or drought (Coe, 2011). Rain is also formed from water evaporating from water bodies. Besides, tropical forests need to be preserved since they are major sources of water through the rain that is formed from transpiring trees. The Amazon as well as the Congo basin are the areas where deforestation is being done and since they are major tropical forests, the impact is that rivers eventually dry up due to the lack of moisture in the atmosphere, fewer clouds, and thus reduced rainfall (Grainger, 2013). There is a need for preservation of the tropical forests since despite people planting trees for every tree they cut, the truth us they take time to grow back to their original high. Planting trees should be a habit not only in protected areas but also in homes and thus together, we can all counter global warming and have rainfall.

Reduction of species diversity

Constant deforestation leads to weakening biodiversity and therefore when an ecosystem has less or reduced species, it affects the lives of other species (Barlow, 2016). It is important to note that there are economical as well as consumer benefits for cutting down trees. However, society needs to be well educated or informed on the effects of deforestation as well as understand the economic cost necessary that also ensures that species are preserved. Selective logging is an option for individuals who cut trees for their economic consumption and it means that they should cut down the trees that have economic benefits. However, roads are being constructed in forest-covered areas and they are encouraging tree cutters to do their job aimlessly in disregard of plants and animal species. For instance, if there were plants that thrived in the presence of a canopy and low light, deforestation may inhibit their growth and as much as the plants that require a lot of light could grow, the biodiversity could consequently be altered.

Animals whose habitat is trees could easily lose their habitat during deforestation and if they cannot relocate then they stand a chance of becoming extinct. Rainforests are a habitat for very many species and when deforestation is deliberate or otherwise, then there is a risk that they could be extinct. However, some plants and animals can adapt even in the absence of trees. The government plays a crucial role in giving subsidies to the companies or organizations that provide alternatives to cutting down of trees since it helps maintain biodiversity. Conservation measures are also important to ensure that there are protected areas that help research on the plants and species that require protection as well as providing protected areas for them (Song, 2014). However, having protected areas are not enough to ensure that deforestation is dealt with. Thus awareness programs ensure that individuals especially in the rural areas are educated on the importance of conservation of trees as well as advised on what trees to plant.

Conclusion

The carbon cycle is disrupted when trees are cut down without guidance or thought about the future and thus forming an ozone layer that traps heat on the atmosphere. Nature has a way of retaliating if it is not well taken care of and thus it an individual responsibility to care. The small efforts of checking on the carbon footprint are important as well as planting trees will benefit everybody in the future. Trees are important in regulating the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and therefore if they are not planted then the concentration of carbon dioxide will increase and cause the greenhouse gas effect.

Water is also necessary for our homes for various reasons such as drinking, cooking, cleaning, building among others and some people depend on rainwater for survival. Tropical forests are a source of water since transpiration ensures that there is rainfall in these regions, in addition, water that evaporates from these water bodies also creates rainfall. It is therefore our mandate as human beings to ensure that we protect our forest areas and also have eco-friendly practices. We ought to have alternative sources of wood to minimize deforestation globally. The Amazon forest, as well as other tropical forests, need to be protected for future generations. Besides, we need conservation areas for plants and animals as we protect their natural habitats. This way, we protect their ecosystem as we promote biodiversity.

References

Baccini, A. G. S. J., Goetz, S. J., Walker, W. S., Laporte, N. T., Sun, M., Sulla-Menashe, D., … & Samanta, S. (2012). Estimated carbon dioxide emissions from tropical deforestation improved by carbon-density maps. Nature climate change, 2(3), 182-185.

Barlow, J., Lennox, G. D., Ferreira, J., Berenguer, E., Lees, A. C., Mac Nally, R., … & Parry, L. (2016). Anthropogenic disturbance in tropical forests can double biodiversity loss from deforestation. Nature, 535(7610), 144-147.

Coe, M. T., Latrubesse, E. M., Ferreira, M. E., & Amsler, M. L. (2011). The effects of deforestation and climate variability on the streamflow of the Araguaia River, Brazil. Biogeochemistry, 105(1-3), 119-131.

Eisner, R., Seabrook, L. M., & McAlpine, C. A. (2016). Are changes in global oil production influencing the rate of deforestation and biodiversity loss?. Biological Conservation, 196, 147-155.

Grainger, A. (Ed.). (2013). Controlling tropical deforestation. Routledge.

Song, X. P., Huang, C., & Townshend, J. R. (2014). An integrated framework for evaluating the effects of deforestation on ecosystem services. In IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science (Vol. 17, No. 1, p. 012061). IOP Publishing.




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