CONSEQUENCES OF DEFORESTATION
Deforestation alters with the rate or extent of deforestation changes the carbon cycle, hydrological cycle and the amount of soil nutrition (2). Trees reduce the impacts of rain drops on the soil so if the trees are removed the vegetation is altered with because some plants depend on these trees so that they can grow. Removal of trees alters the amount of water that penetrates the soil and groundwater. This leads to increased surface runoff and decreased infiltration and percolation. Evaporation and evapo-transpiration which are the processes which takes place from the trees and plants will be reduced due to deforestation. These will lead to reduced evaporation these mean that the energy from the sun is able to warm the earth surface, which will lead to rise in temperatures. The essential nutrients such as nitrogen will be washed out of the soil by run-off and these lead to soil erosion. The soil will end up being infertile and acidic (3)
In rural areas deforestation is caused by people because of the need for fire wood. The wood is used for fire for cooking, even though some of them have electricity. In this way they save electricity since they use it for lights only and use wood for cooking and boiling water. Fire releases carbon dioxide which is the dominant green house gas which contributes to global warming. Thus destruction of trees leads to the decreased consumption of carbon dioxide by plants which results in the increase of temperature. Trees increase the quality of air by taking in carbon dioxide and it also traps other particles such as methane which are released by factories (2). Removal of trees lead to the “albedo effect which reflects more heat and light back into the atmosphere than would be the case if the dun shone on green trees” (4)
I was busy capturing data for Natural Resource and Environment at CSIR the questionnaires was taking about the type of energy preferred by people at Zimbabwe. Most people preferred wood because it was free unlike the other energy source such as electricity and generator. Some of the people complained about deforestation because almost each an every person is starting to use wood so that they can reduce the cost.
Some people think that deforestation is caused by poverty, but it is not only poverty that causes deforestation even urban development (5). When a town or city is built, the area has to be cleared of vegetation. Ecological functions can be assigned economic values, and development is not always good from an economic point of view. As a result of deforestation the temperatures are increasing dramatically. Places like Polokwane might be faced with drought in the mere future, if the condition does not change.
Deforestation differs from country to country. In Ethiopia deforestation is caused by people. People clear the forest for their personal needs such as fuel, harvesting their own crops, building of houses, e.t.c. Ethiopia is the second largest populated country in Africa and there is also famine. The population of Ethiopia increases by the day and people needs a place to stay so most of the trees have to cut so that people have a land. In the early twentieth century about 42 hectares of Ethiopia was covered by trees but now it has less than 14.2 percent of trees remaining (1). In Nigeria the cause of deforestation are logging, subsistence agriculture and fire wood. Nigeria has lost more than half of its forest in the past five years and is considered the world’s highest deforested country (1).
How can we prevent/control deforestation, especially in less developed countries? We should start implementing some efforts (or “measures”) to slow deforestation or stop cutting wood. We should also start replanting trees just like Wangari Muta Maathai who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for “her contribution to sustainable development democracy peace” (6) in 2004. She planted over 30 million trees across Kenya to prevent soil erosion. In South Africa and other countries such as Australia, Canada and others have a day where they plant trees. The day in which trees are planted world wide is called Arbor Day (7).
We should also start using wood cautiously, remembering the after effects of cutting all the plants. People should also be educated about how the importance of plants. We should start taking care of trees and plants, if we do not do so we are going to pay the price.
. Wikipedia contributors. Deforestation [Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2007 Mar 1, 10:30 UTC [cited 2007 Mar 1]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Deforestation&oldid=111799234
. Beamon, C and Cargill, C.J. Deforestation and Desertification. [Internet]. Available from: http://www.munfw.org/archive/45th/csd1.htm
. Jocelyn Stock Andy Rochen. The Choice: Doomsday or Arbor Day. [Internet]. Available from: http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/society/deforestation.htm
. Barnekow Lilleso, J. P, Dhakal, P, Kjaer, E. D, Nathan, I and Shrestha, R. (2000). Conservation of trees through use by local people and decentralized seed distribution supported by a tree seed programme. [Internet]. Available from: http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/AC648E/ac648e0m.htm
. Collins, J. Deforestation. [Internet]. Last Updated: 2001 Feb 01. Available from: http://www.botany.uwc.ac.za/Envfacts/facts/deforestation.htm
. Wikipedia contributors. Wangari Maathai [Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2007 Mar 6, 06:06 UTC [cited 2007 Mar 6]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wangari_Maathai&oldid=113003501
. Wikipedia contributors. Arbor Day [Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2007 Feb 26, 21:01 UTC [cited 2007 Mar 6]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Arbor_Day&oldid=111158566.
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