Effects Of Deforestation On The Environment

Effects Of Deforestation On The Environment

Did you know there was a time when forests covered forty-eight percent of the earth’s
land surface? Surprised? Me too! Unfortunately, as the man continued to progress, he drastically
reduced the forest-covered areas (Cook, 2018). Right now, only thirty percent of the earth’s land
surface is covered by forests, and this rate is likely to reduce due to the continued destruction of
forests by man. Recent studies show that there is the mass destruction of tropical forests. Half of
the forest landmass on earth has been destroyed! Can you imagine the earth without forests?
Well, that is where the world is heading if deforestation continues to be encouraged for whatever
reasons. Deforestation can be described as simply removing or clearing trees for other human
activities to take place, such as industrialization, civilization, and agriculture. In other words, it
is the removal of trees and the conversion of that given piece of land to a non-forest use (Cook,
2018). Over the past years, deforestation and its environmental effects is a subject that has been
debated over and over. Large organizations and governments have been advocating for mass
deforestation because they reap large profits from it. They don’t see any harmful effects from
their actions. The majority disagree with their actions as the effects of the mass cutting down of
trees are already taking effect. It is only right to say that soon, the severe effects of deforestation
may be irreversible. That being said, this essay will look at the effects of deforestation on the
environment by focusing on specific areas, namely: disruption of the carbon cycle, disruption of
the hydrologic (water) cycle, and the reduction of species diversity.
Deforestation disrupts the carbon cycle as it facilitates the release of large amounts of
carbon dioxide within the earth’s atmosphere, thus causing global warming. Carbon dioxide is a
greenhouse gas whose function is to trap heat within the earth’s atmosphere. As carbon dioxide is
released into the atmosphere, trees absorb it just like human beings intake oxygen (Cook, 2018).

The Effects of Deforestation | WWF

EFFECTS OF DEFORESTATION ON THE ENVIRONMENT 3
Therefore, when deforestation occurs, the absorption of carbon dioxide is interrupted and
stopped, and all the carbon dioxide stored within the trees is released into the atmosphere. Since
forests absorb the majority of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, they play a key role in the
carbon cycle on the planet. There is carbon dioxide emission every time deforestation occurs
irrespective of whether the trees cut down were burned or left to rot, contributing to increased
greenhouse gas buildup. By allowing trees to continue living, we allow for the continued
filtration of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. Deforestation contributes up to thirty
percent of increased greenhouse gas emissions annually. Therefore, disruption of the carbon
cycle is a leading contributor to global warming and global climate change. The effects of global
warmings, such as adverse climatic changes and extreme weather conditions, including floods,
storms, and droughts. These are examples of the indirect effects of the disruption of the carbon
cycle as a result of deforestation (Alliance, 2021).
Deforestation leads to the disruption of the water cycle. The water cycle refers to the
process that facilitates the distribution of all water on the planet. Ocean water and water from all
other freshwater bodies on the earth’s surface evaporates to form clouds after condensation. Trees
extract water underground water and release it within the atmosphere through the photosynthesis
process. The formed clouds result in rain, which again becomes groundwater and ocean water
(Derouin, 2019). Trees are therefore responsible for maintaining the existence of water vapor
within the atmosphere. When trees are cut down in large numbers, the water they extract from
the ground is reduced or completely stopped. The retention of water vapor in the atmosphere is
reduced, causing key changes such as desertification. Dry conditions such as desertification
cause higher risks of fires. Clearing forests that once contained moist, fertile soil caused large
amounts of rainfall to result in a dry and barren land. This also caused reduced water intake

EFFECTS OF DEFORESTATION ON THE ENVIRONMENT 4
levels for the trees to extract since the soil is already dry. Further, deforestation causes a
reduction in soil cohesion, which may result in landslides, erosion, and floods. Adding on trees
plays an important role in preventing water pollution as they reduce contaminated runoffs into
lakes, oceans, and rivers (Derouin, 2019).
Lastly, cutting down of trees causes reduction and biodiversity loss. Living things possess
the ability to adapt to new and different environments now and then. This process, however,
takes some time to occur. Through this process of adapting to new environments, the earth has
thrived from cold zones to hot areas such as deserts (Munna et al., 2017). Deforestation causes
quick alteration of the land that prevents both plants and animals from coping; therefore, the
majority of them fail to survive. In cases whereby deforestation is too much, an entire species
may be wiped out, causing loss of life, also referred to as biodiversity loss. Reduction and loss of
biodiversity have adverse effects on the ecosystems, such as disruption of food wens and chains
since most living things depend on food chains to survive. For instance, when a frog species gets
extinct, predators like birds who depend on the frogs for food could reduce in number as most of
them might die of hunger. Further, specific plants might depend mainly on the birds for
pollination and the spreading of their seeds. These plants, therefore, end up reducing in
population. Because of the dependence of the pieces within the ecosystem, the loss of a given
species causes negative effects on the rest of the species. Therefore, deforestation leads to the
loss of the planet’s natural beauty (Munna et al., 2017).
The negative effects of deforestation mentioned above, such as biodiversity reduction and
loss, disruption of the water cycle and disruption of the carbon cycle outweigh the pressing needs
for cutting down trees such as civilization, agriculture, and industrialization. There is a need to
stop deforestation because it leads to increased negative climate changes and extreme weather

EFFECTS OF DEFORESTATION ON THE ENVIRONMENT 5
conditions such as storms and floods, increased global warming, and extinction of vulnerable
species alongside the loss of earth’s natural beauty. Ending deforestation would mean an
increased population of animals and plants living in forests, reduced carbon dioxide emission
into the environment, and increased water vapor. Forests are our lands’ lungs, giving our people
new strength and purifying our air. With their essential role in our planet’s well-being, forests
need to be conserved and saved from deforestation. Even though most of the time trees are
usually cut down because of a pressing need to, trying to reduce the pressing needs by making
more smart choices when it comes to city planning, agricultural practices, and migration among
other human needs presents a great way of reducing deforestation.

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References

Alliance, P., 2021. Effects of Deforestation. [online] Pachamama Alliance. Available at:
<https://www.pachamama.org/effects-of-deforestation> [Accessed 8 February 2021].
Cook, M., 2018. Four Consequences of Deforestation. [online] Sciencing. Available at:
<https://sciencing.com/four-consequences-deforestation-7622.html> [Accessed 8
February 2021].
Derouin, S., 2019. Deforestation: Facts, Causes & Effects | Live Science. [online]
Livescience.com. Available at: <https://www.livescience.com/27692-deforestation.html>
[Accessed 8 February 2021].
Munna, M., Naher, S., Munna, M., Shapna, N., Shapna, N. and Munna, M., 2017.  Deforestation
and its impact on Environment – Earth Review. [online] Earth Review. Available at:
<https://www.earthreview.org/deforestation-and-its-impact-on-environment/> [Accessed
8 February 2021].

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