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Deforestation: Causes and Solutions

Deforestation is a major global problem with serious consequences to the planet. These consequences have negative effects on the climate, biodiversity, the atmosphere, and threatens the cultural and physical survival of indigenous peoples. Effects of deforestation are too great to continue destroying the forests. There are many causes of deforestation. The first and most important cause is wood extraction. Wood has always been a primary forest product for human populations and industrial interests. Since wood is an important structural component of any forest, its removal has immediate implications on forest health. Intensive harvests can lead to severe degradation, even beyond a forest’s capacity to recover. When the soil has been stripped of its nutrients, farmers move further into the forests in search of new land.

And perhaps the worst culprit of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is cattle ranching. 38% of deforestation in the Amazon was due to large-scale cattle ranching. Mining for valuable resources also plays a major role. Deforestation has many devastating effects. It affects climate significantly, in part because the forest plays a major role in the water cycle, recycling rain back into the clouds as it receives rainfall. As a result, when the land is cleared, flooding and drought become serious problems, as rainwater travels quickly through the ground without the forest to regulate it.

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The burning and felling of the forests are also exacerbating the Greenhouse Effect: approximately 10% of the heat-trapping carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere in 1987 was a result of the fires in the Amazon. It threatens the existence of indigenous peoples. There have been more extinctions of tribal peoples in this century than any other, with Brazil losing 87 tribes between 1900 and 1950. Deforestation robs the world of countless species, destroying crucial biodiversity and losing species with potential uses in medicine, agriculture and industry. Biodiversity is important because it contributes to resiliency. A world without biodiversity would be fragile and likely to amplify disturbance into catastrophe through the collapse of ecosystems that had lost keystone species.

Thus, biodiversity reduction, combined with climate change, has the potential to spin out of control and threaten the prosperity of global civilization. Already the scale of biodiversity caused by the present generation of human activities ranks with the great prehistoric extinctions. Recovery from this level of disturbance will require tens of millions of years. At the close of the twentieth century, the world finds itself undergoing the most rapid and complete deforestation it has ever experienced under the human hand. Since 1950, Satellite view of the Amazon. Before deforestation, the fullness of the forest was evident as no gaps between trees were seen for miles and miles. After deforestation, the land becomes extremely dry, uninhabitable and useless.

A fifth of the world’s forest cover has been removed. At least 55% of the world’s 30 to 40 million hectares of rare but incredibly productive rainforest have been cleared. Current rates of loss for rainforests and other ecosystems are over 20 million hectares a year, 40 hectares a minute. According to reports by the World Resource Institute and Rainforest Alliance, tropical forests account for 80% of that loss. An area almost the size of Washington State is destroyed each year, and at current rates, tropical forests will be reduced by almost half from existing levels in the next 45 years. The long-term effects of deforestation are far too great to continue devastating the forests. Our biosphere that they have both been addressed by international treaties. These include the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity and the Framework Convention on Solutions.

So where can we go from here? There is no one easy solution as deforestation is caused by many things. One option is decreasing the need for the number of products that are harvested from the rainforests. If all countries, especially developed ones, enforced programs that used recycling, the need for disposable products would be diminished and the loggers would not have a business. If the demand is cut off, there is no need for the supply. Other solutions involve money. One that could help to alleviate deforestation is providing aid to foreign countries so they give homes to those who are at high risk of becoming “shifted cultivators”.

Conclusion. The Brazilian government has taken a number of steps to protect the Amazon rainforest. In 1989 it abolished tax incentives for farming and ranching developments. In 1996 it stopped giving new licences for logging mahogany trees. A number of trees have been made into national parks and given better protection. Satellite photos are used to monitor the rate of deforestation and to spot illegal logging. Sustainable ways of using the forest are being encouraged. Many rainforest products such as fruit and nuts can be harvested without damaging the forest. In places, the selective feeling is possible. Valuable trees are removed without damaging the surrounding areas. Deforestation: Cattle Ranching I have carried out a report about cattle ranching. I will try and answer the following questions:

  • Is Cattle Ranching A Major Cause of Deforestation?
  • How Does Cattle Ranching Effect Deforestation?

Cattle ranching is a major cause of deforestation. Forests in the tropics are commonly cut and burned so more cattle can graze. Every year, 5 million acres of rainforest are destroyed in South and Central America to create grazing land for cattle. Many animals and plants are becoming extinct due to this loss of habitat. The popularity of cattle ranching, therefore, has a lot to do with non-profit reasons, such as land ownership and storing value. What farmers and poor inhabitants living in the forests do are the most devastating to our environment. In attempts to settle farmland, the poor become “shifted cultivators” and resort to using slash and burn methods for tree removal. Slashing and burning involve what its name implies, trees are cut down and the remains are burned.

The ash is used as a fertilizer and the land is then used for farming or cattle grazing, however, the soil that is cleared in slash and burn is left infertile and the nutrients in the soil are quickly absorbed by surrounding organisms. The farmers must move on sometimes to other areas and repeat this process and worthy land and trees become scarce. For farmers in places like Brazil, slash and burn methods are the only way to effectively clear land of parasites and unwanted organisms; chemical use means contaminate water and soil. It has become such a dilemma that leading researchers see it as the number one cause of deforestation. Farmers continue to turn to slashing and burning as a method of clearing this land for cattle pasture results in the elimination of virtually all the ecosystem’s biodiversity and its replacement with a few, often exotic species of plants and accompanying fauna.

Conclusion. Cattle Ranching and Agriculture for Export:

  •  Approx 12% of deforestation due to ranching and export crops
  • Cattle ranching for export particularly important in Latin America
  • Sustainable for approx. 20 years.
  • When soil gives out, shrubby plants take over and produce a scrub savannah
  • Agriculture for export is only sustainable by using large amounts of fertilizers and chemicals

If the ranch land is swiftly abandoned, the forest will return, but it is typically less bio-diverse than the forest which the ranchers cut. if the ranch land Is resuscitated before abandonment it will take many years to revert to forest, and that forest is likely to be composed of just one or a few species of trees. Nearly all the deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon (variously estimated at between 8 and 12% of the forest area) is direct, if not always indirectly, the result of Cattle ranching. Deforestation for ranching is also likely to have regional and possibly global effects, both in terms of carbon balance and hydrological cycles.

SOLUTIONS. So where can we go from here? There is no one easy solution as deforestation is caused by many things. One option is decreasing the need for the number of products that are harvested from the rainforests. If all countries, especially developed ones, enforced programs that used recycling, the need for disposable products would be diminished and the loggers would not have a business. If the demand is cut off, there is no need for the supply. Other solutions involve money. One that could help to alleviate deforestation is providing aid to foreign countries so they give homes to those who are at high risk of becoming “shifted cultivators”.

Causes. Deforestation is happening in Brazil for the same reason it happened in Europe.

  • Brazil needs land resources to improve: standards of living
  • Agriculture – Forest is cleared to provide more farmland.
  • Settlement – Large-scale settlement programmes provide homes for Brazil’s landless people.
  • Cattle Ranching – The forest is burned then turned into the pasture to graze cattle for beef.
  • Logging – Valuable trees such as mahogany are harvested for export.
  • Mining – The Amazon is rich in minerals such as gold, iron ore and bauxite.
  • Dams – There plans to build 73 dams to supply vital hydro-electrical power. The reservoirs will flood and kill large areas of forest.
  • Roads – 12000 km of roads have opened up the Amazon rainforest to settlers.

What is deforestation & desertification? Deforestation is the removal of trees and natural vegetation from areas of dense forest or jungle. It is done primarily to obtain space that is essential for agriculture, fuel and building. However, there are many environmental issues that have derived solely from this mass wood extraction. Wood has always been a primary forest product for human populations and industrial interests. Since wood is an important structural component of any forest, its removal has immediate implications on forest health. Intensive harvests can lead to severe degradation, even beyond a forest’s capacity to recover. When the soil has been stripped of its nutrients, farmers move further into the forests in search of new land.

As forests are destroyed in this way, habitats are removed for the animals living in them, therefore the biodiversity decreases. Forests also hold a big role in the water cycle as it releases back the water that falls on them through transpiration into the air. If trees are removed this may reduce the amount of water vapour that returns to the air, and may reduce rainfall either locally or in nearby regions which could inevitably lead to drought. Trees also intercept the rain, lack of interception means that the water will not be slowed down on its way to the ground. Therefore soil erosion and flooding can occur from rapid surface run-off as a result of saturated soils.

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Deforestation: Causes and Solutions. (2021, Apr 12). Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://essayscollector.com/essays/deforestation-causes-and-solutions/