The loss or continual degradation of forest habitat due to natural or human related causes is called deforestation.
Causes of deforestation
- Rapid urbanization and increases in human population have led to conversion of forest to land.
- Clearance of agricultural fields to grow more food. Nowadays, with the growing population, the need of human beings has also increased. To meet the daily needs, the balance in nature is getting imbalanced. Huge population requires more space to live in, more food to eat, more accessories and equipment to lead a comfortable life. Consequently, the nature is suffering.
- It may be used to fulfill fuel requirement for cooking, etc.
- Timber exploitation for construction purpose. Huge numbers of trees are being cut down to meet the need for increased land for housing, food, industries set up.
- Using land for setting up industries etc. Trees are cut to meet the need for wood used in manufacturing paper, furniture, in food industry, etc.
All the above causes of deforestation are human-made causes. There are some natural causes of deforestation alsi like forest fires, several droughts, attacks of insects and pests, overgrazing etc.
Consequences of Deforestation
The various consequences of deforestation are as follows:
- Reduced rainfall
- Imbalance of atmospheric gases
- Loss of Natural Habitat
- Change in Climate
- Decrease in Water level
The areas that are devoid of forests get reduced rainfall and may create drought like situation.
Deforestation leads to a decrease in the rainfall and hence lowers the level of ground water. This may lead to situation called droughts where people suffer from scarcity of water and hunger.
Imbalance of atmospheric gases
Plants take in the carbon-dioxide during the process of photosynthesis and exhale oxygen. But less number of trees leads to an increase in the level of carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere.
Deforestation disturbs the balance between carbon dioxide and oxygen gas in atmosphere, which further results in increase in carbon dioxide leading to global warming. Once the carbon dioxide is increased, then, the carbon dioxide gas traps the heat rays reflected from earth’s surface and this will result in increase in temperature on earth and it will disturb the water cycle too and may reduce rainfall. This could cause drought.
Loss of Natural Habitat
There are some species which live on trees and thereby cutting down of trees destroys home of those species.
Change in climate
Deforestation changes the climatic condition. The increased temperature alters the water cycle and leads to reduction of rainfall. This results in occurrence of a situation called drought.
It also results in the alteration of properties of soil. Deforestation leads to soil erosion because roots of plants holds the soil firmly and hence prevents soil erosion. But lesser number of trees results in removal of top layer of soil which in turn exposes the lower portion of soil which is hard, rocky, contains less humus and is less fertile. In this way, a fertile land gets converted to a barren land. This is called desertification.
Decrease in water level
Deforestation decreases the water holding capacity of soil which in turn reduces the movement of water to the lower ground from the upper part of the ground resulting in the increased chances of flood or we can say that italso decreases the infiltration rate of water into the ground.
conservation of forests
As forests are helpful to maintain ecological equilibrium in environment and thereby, there is an immediate need to conserve it. Also, we know that forests play an important role.
Different ways of Conserving Forests
- Preventing Forests Fires
- Grazing in forests is to be controlled
It means the process of restoring and recreating areas of forests. It includes growing more and more plants.
Preventing forests fires
To make sure fires are not carelessly ignited, we should take special precautions. This might threaten people and kill wildlife and also destroys forests. Thus, we can say that prevention of forest fire is very necessary.
Grazing in forests is to be controlled
We should keep an eye on grazing in forests. As grazing control actually prevents soil erosion which is again essential as we know top layer is fertile as well as a habitat for various organisms. Plants grows on the top layer and it is also a habitat of many small organisms