Deforestation can be defined as the permanent eradication of forests through deliberate manmade activities or natural occurrences. This is one of the main reasons for water scarcity globally. Rivers and lakes rely on water from wetlands which are mainly forested areas. In addition to this, forests contribute to evaporation of water during transpiration and it’s this water that ends up in the atmosphere, condenses and cools and falls back to earth as rain. In addition to this, deforestation has other effects.
Let’s take a look at the 4 major effects of deforestation.
#1 The loss of habitat
The loss of habitat is one of the major effects of deforestation. These forests provide a natural habitat for various plants and animal species which play an important role in creating balance in nature. Considering that 70 per cent of animals and plants on land live in forests, it means we cannot afford to seat easy and watch our forests get destroyed.
#2 Increase in Greenhouse gas emissions
By now, we are all familiar with the concept of global warming. We have noticed a change in weather patterns such as reduced rainfall, flooding, melting glaciers and so on. One of the main causes for this is an increase in Greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. If we as humans don’t make concerted efforts to protect our forests, we are staring at a grim future as these effects of global warming will further get compounded thereby putting our lives at more risk.
#3 Reduction in atmospheric water
Trees usually help in regulating the amount of water in the atmosphere by regulating water cycles. This mostly happens during transpiration when leaves release water into the atmosphere which ends up dropping back into the earth. However, the more trees are destroyed, the less the water being released into the atmosphere hence less moisture ending up in the soil. Dryer soils will eventually reduce our ability to cultivate food hence contributing to food insecurity especially in developing nations where this is a huge problem.
#4 Increased flooding and soil erosion
The presence of tree cover usually helps in securing soil firmly in place thereby ensuring that the soil does not lose all its rich nutrients during strong winds or rain. However, when these trees are destroyed, the soil loses this protection hence whenever there are strong winds or rainfall, all the top fertile soil is washed away by the flowing water. Lack of trees also leaves the land bare thereby making it increasingly susceptible to flooding which further increases soil erosion.
These are just some of the effects of deforestation however, there are plenty more effects we ought to be aware of. In our next post, we will look at ways of preventing deforestation.