Maya Merschat, age 13, April 15, 2018
Every second, an area of forest the size of a football field is felled by the lumber industry. Deforestation is causing many things on the Earth to change. If deforestation continues at this rate, forests on the Earth could all be gone within the next 100 years.
Deforestation has extremely negative effects on local climate and areas around the forest, obliterating many animal species native to the forests, and contributing to global warming in several ways.
In the article “Deforestation in the Tropics Affects Climate around the World, Study Finds,” Professor Deborah Lawrence states that, “… effects of tropical deforestation on climate [change] go well beyond carbon…, it changes rainfall by altering the movement of heat and water… tropical deforestation results in immediate climate impacts independent of, and in addition to, its contribution to the greenhouse effect.”
The article “Deforestation and Its Effect on the Planet” from the National Geographic Society shows how the moisture preserved in forests, in the air as water vapor and as rainwater on leaves and soaked in by tree roots, generally keeps local communities around them at a cooler temperature, which is the temperature necessary to sustain areas near rainforests and tropical forests. When deforestation occurs, there is less forest to preserve moisture near local communities, so the temperatures within them rise.
Trees absorb carbon dioxide and turn it partly into oxygen through a process known as photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, which means that it is a gas that heats up the Earth’s atmosphere.
When trees are felled and burned during deforestation, all of their stored carbon is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Also with fewer forests on the Earth, there is less absorption of carbon dioxide.
So in the process of cutting down and burning trees there is an adding global warming effect – not only is there less absorption of carbon dioxide, there is also a contribution of carbon dioxide. As a result the globe steadily heats up, leading to rising temperatures, melting of ice caps, and rising seas.
Deforestation also destroys wildlife habitats and is very harmful to both animals and plants. According to the article “How Does Deforestation Affect Animals?” animals could encounter dangers during migration because of the activity around deforestation; and since there is less of their habitat to protect them, they are now more vulnerable to predation, poaching, wind, sunlight, and invasion of wildlife species into remaining forest habitat. Animals are forced to move into continuously smaller spaces until they are so crowded that they become short of resources, eventually leading to death. If animal species are endangered and becoming extinct, our world will become drastically different; there will be no way of bringing them back.
If large-scale deforestation continues, we could lose all of our forests and many species of plants and animals, and make global warming and climate change even worse. The effects could be devastating.
Bradford, Alina. “Deforestation: Facts, Causes & Effects.”LiveScience, Web. Accessed 1 April 2018. www.livescience.com/27692-deforestation.html.
“Deforestation and Its Effect on the Planet.” Facts, Information, and Effects | National Geographic: National Geographic Partners, LLC, 25 July 2017. Web. Accessed 1 April 2018. www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/deforestation/.
“Deforestation and Global Warming.” Nature News: Nature Publishing Group, 2014. Web. Accessed 1 April 2018. www.nature.com/scitable/blog/green-science/deforestation_and_global_warming.
“How Does Deforestation Affect Animals?” Greentumble: Greentumble, 15 Mar. 2018. Web. Accessed 1 April 2018. https://greentumble.com/how-does-deforestation-affect-animals/.
McSweeny, Robert. “Deforestation in the Tropics Affects Climate around the World, Study Finds.” CarbonBrief Llt: Carbon Brief, 01 Mar. 2015. Web. Accessed 1 April 2018. www.carbonbrief.org/deforestation-in-the-tropics-affects-climate-around-the-world-study-finds.