Laurance stated that Tropical forests do far more than sustain biodiversity; they are homes to indigenous peoples, pharmacopeias of natural products, and provide vital ecosystem services, such as flood amelioration and soil conservation (p. 109). This shows that forest is very important to us but deforestation has caused all the forest to be cleared. What is deforestation? Deforestation is an act of cutting down all the trees in that particular area. Deforestation happens for some reasons, some were done legally while some were done illegally. Tropical forest takes up about six percent of the whole earth but it causes a lot of problems when all the trees were cut down. Till today, peoples are still debating on whether deforestation is an appropriate act or not. What are the causes and effects of deforestation?
What is happening to the tropical rainforest now? We have always read the news of Indonesia burning the forests almost every year. Why are they doing it? It has been reported they burn the forests so that they will have a better land to plant the palm oil. It acts as a fertilizer to the land because their plants died easily. Even thought they did it to fertilize the land but it brings harm to the people around the country. Air pollution happens especially in Malaysia where there are hazes everywhere. Haze is when the air is misty and blurry. It brings harm to the people that inhale it. Therefore, every year the rates of people receiving treatment during the period of time increases.
This shows that deforestation has caused a lot of effects to the mankind and it’s been showed on advertisement and newspaper but it seems that people are still not aware of it. This research paper is going to talk about the causes and effects of deforestation around the world. Many people were more aware of the effects than the causes of deforestation. This research paper is going to talk about the causes and effects of deforestation. Besides the causes and effects, this paper is going to talk about what can be done to save the forest too.
Causes of deforestation
One of the most common causes of deforestation is clearing up the forest to pay back the foreign debt of that particular country (Culas, 2006). Some country has owed a large sum of foreign debt. They don’t the capability to pay back the debt, thus they cleared up the forests for crop production. By planting crops that could be export to another country, they could earn a lot and repay back the debt. This is why most of the country chooses to clear the forest and do agriculture. They not only can repay back the debt but also earn a large sum of money out of it. If the country did not have that large sum of debt, the forest wouldn’t have to be cleared up and the rates of deforestation will be decreasing. Therefore, those countries need to find another alternative ways that could earn money instead of clearing up the forests. As I mentioned earlier, tropical forests only takes up about 6 percent of the whole earth. If the countries continue to clear up the forests, there will be no more forests in the surface of the earth.
Another causes of deforestation are the demand of land. When the population of the certain countries increases, the demand of houses increases too. This leads to clearing up the forests to build houses so that they can sustain the population in that country. We don’t have to look at other country. We just need to take a look at our own country, Malaysia. Forests in Setapak area were cleared up to build condominiums. Malaysia has the population over millions and the demand for houses were very high. They choose to clear up the forests so that there were more land to build apartment, condominium, terrace house and more. This shows that deforestation is the first option when it comes to fulfilling the demand of land. Besides fulfilling the demand of houses, the demand of oil has also leads to deforestation. Oil has been widely used everywhere in the world now. When the demand of oil is increasing, lands were in need for oil plantation. When there is no more empty land for oil plantation, deforestation has become the option again to have lands. Trees were chopped down and being used to plants oil palm so the demand could be met.
Besides meeting the demand of land, the weakness shown in the government’s rules is also one of the causes (Laurance, 1999). We learned from young that there are rules when it comes to cutting down the trees. Many people keep violating the rules and continue to do illegal logging. Why? This is because the weak government’s policies. Rules were set but there were no enforcement. They show weakness when it comes to violating the rules. For example, they just let them go when they caught them doing illegal logging instead of arresting them or fine them. This does not help but makes the matter worse. People will think that it is fine to do illegal logging since the police did not arrest them at the first place. Such government will only promote the act instead of stopping them. Soon, all the trees in the country will disappear.
The effects of deforestation
What are the effects of deforestation? One of the effects of deforestation is doing harm to the indigenous people. When desertification happens, it deadly affects the indigenous people, as it contributes to death, illness, poorness, and culture shock (Mitten, 1997). This is because indigenous people live in the forest and their source of foods come from the forest. Logging activities have become one way to earn money. Therefore, all the companies have build their factory near the rivers. When they cut down the trees and bring it back the process, all the wastewater will flow into the river. Indigenous people drink water from the river. As a result, they will get sick because of the dirty water caused by the factories. It can even promote to death if it get serious. Besides that, the culture will soon vanished when the indigenous people becomes lesser and lesser. Cultural shock will happen and the history of the culture will soon be forgotten.
Besides harming the indigenous people, deforestation harms the wildlife too (Bonaudo, Pendu, Faure, & Quanz, 2005). This is because around 80 to 90 percent of animal species live in the tropical rainforest. Imagine if all the trees were cut down, what will happen to this animal? Of course, the animals will lose their natural habitat and they will extinct. Animals like panda refuse to breed when they are not in their own natural habitat. Therefore, the population if panda keeps increasing as time goes by because their natural habitat has been destroyed. When deforestation happens, the animals lost their natural habitat and also their protective shield. This results in difficulty to adapt to the new environment and refuse to breed. When this happen, more and more animals will extinct. Our future relationship will have to look at pictures to know the animal instead of looking at the animals in real life. How bad is it that for the future generation, animals are just picture for them? Deforestation will soon cause them to lost touch with the animals that exist now and they will only know them by story told by the parents or just going to a museum.
Another effects of deforestation are climate change. Bala, Caldeira, Wickett, Phillips, Lobell, Delire, & Mirin, (2006) stated that deforestation affects the global climate both by releasing the carbon stored in the living plants and soils, and by altering the physical properties of the planetary surface (p. 6550). This happens because trees are storage for the carbon dioxide released by the human through respiration. Trees stored carbon dioxide to make their own food through the photosynthesis process. When the trees were all cut down, there are no more trees to absorb carbon dioxide that are released by humans. Carbon dioxide will then release directly to the atmosphere and temperature will increase. When carbon dioxide in the air increases severely, the temperature will increase severely too. This will results in the phenomena named global warming. When global warming happens, ice in the North Pole and South Pole will melt. This results in the increasing of the sea level. The water will flood country that has lower sea level and they will disappear from the surface of the earth. Soon, all the land will be flooded and the country will disappear one by one.
What can be done?
Deforestation has caused a lot of harm to the mankind. To stop all this harm, we need to take some action to stop it. Instead of cutting down the trees to have new land, we can do land reclamation. Land reclamation is creating new lands from oceans or riverbeds. Besides that, government should enforce the rules instead of handling the matters with leniency. The people who violate the rules should be fined. This acts as a warning to the others so that they will stop they illegal logging and this could help in saving the trees around us. Every country should preserve their forests and also plant more trees so that the biodiversity could be maintained.
All in all, deforestation has caused a lot of devastating effects not only to the people but also the animals. Before understanding the effects, we need to find the roots of why deforestation happens first. As I stated earlier, the causes of deforestation are large sum of foreign debt, increasing demand of land, and the weakness shown in the government’s policies. Deforestation happens because the trees were cut down for crop production. With the production, they could repay back the debt. Besides that, the demand of land keep on increasing as times goes by. This is because the increase in popularity has increased the demand of land to build houses. Moreover, the weakness in the policies has promotes deforestation instead of curbing them. This happens because the government did not enforce the rules that were set and they take care of the matter leniently.
Deforestation has done a lot of harm to people and also to wildlife. The most common effect is causing harm to indigenous people. Indigenous people live in the forest and everything they do inside the forest is part of their culture. When the trees were all chopped down, there are no more home for the indigenous people and soon their culture will extinct. The most precious things for a country are their original culture. If the indigenous people have extinct, they will be no more culture for that particular country. Another effect of deforestation is besides harming the indigenous people, deforestation harms wildlife too. Most of the animal species live in the tropical forest. Not only it acts as the natural habitat to the animals, forests also act as a protective shield for animals. When deforestation happens, they lost the natural habitat and protective shield. Soon, they will push to the edge of extinction. When this happen, it will cause the loss in biodiversity and our future generation will have to know the animals through picture. Another effect of deforestation is climate change. Trees act as storage for carbon dioxide that was released by the human through the process of respiration. Trees absorb carbon dioxide for their photosynthesis process. If the trees were cut down, all the carbon dioxide will be release straight to the atmosphere and this will cause the temperature to increase. When the temperature increase, global warming will happen and the ice in North Pole and South Pole will melt. This results in increase of sea level. Therefore, lands that have lower sea level will soon hit by flood and disappear from the surface of the earth.
After understanding the causes and effects, what can be done to curb deforestation? Every government should find another alternative way to boost their economy and repay back the foreign debt. Instead of cutting down the trees for crop production, they can try boosting the economy by the tourism section. This way they can save the forest and earn money at the same thing. Besides cutting down trees for more land, land reclamation can become one of the ways to have more land. Filling the ocean and riverbed to create new lands instead of clearing the forest. This can fulfill the demand of land and preserve the forest at the same time. The government should enforce the rules that were set for logging activities. People who violate the rules by carrying out the illegal logging act will be fined. This acts as a warning to the others so that they do not dare to do it again. Besides having fined, government could come out with other ways of punishing the people that violates the rules. All in all, they must enforce the laws and regulations on environmental issues.
I choose to do this research on deforestation is because I have read a lot of news on how deforestation do us harm and yet no one has done anything to stop it. I hope that this research paper could help the people to do understand more of the causes and effects of deforestation. Besides that, I also hope this research will help to curb deforestation and save the trees from being cut. By doing this, the biodiversity of the earth could be maintained and there are no more harm done to humans. If deforestation continues to happen, there will be no more trees in the future. This will results in high temperature, lost of biodiversity and more. Therefore I hope everybody will do his or her part in preserving and protecting the forest so that there is a better future for our next generation.