Deforestation and woodlands. Deforestation represents one of the

Deforestation
is the permanent destruction of indigenous forests and woodlands. Deforestation
represents one of the largest issues in global land use. Examples of
deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use.
The most concentrated deforestation occurs in tropical rainforests. There are something we need to know is that the
coverage of the forest on Earth is 30%. One and a half acres of forest are cut
down every second and if the current rate continues, it is estimated that
within 100 years there will be no rainforest. According to Rainforest Action Network, the United Sates has less than
5% of the world’s population yet consume more than 30% of the world’s paper.
The rate of deforestation is so fast and is making it extremely hard to rebuild
a new ecology. If the process does not slow down, 28000 species of flora and
fauna are expected to become extinct by the next 25 years.

63.6%
—or about 20,890,000 hectares—of Malaysia is forested. Of this, 18.3% —or
roughly 3,820,000 hectares—is classified as primary forest, the most biodiverse
form of forest.

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Change
in Forest Cover: Between 1990 and 2000, Malaysia lost an average of 78,500
hectares of forest per year. The amounts to an average annual deforestation
rate of 0.35%. Between 2000 and 2005, the rate of forest change increased by
85.1% to 0.65% per annum. In total, between 1990 and 2005, Malaysia lost 6.6%
of its forest cover, or around 1,486,000 hectares. Measuring the total rate of
habitat conversion (defined as change in forest area plus change in woodland
area minus net plantation expansion) for the 1990-2005 interval, Malaysia lost
5.4% of its forest and woodland habitat.

 

 

 

 

 

The importance of
tropical rainforest

            Tropical rainforest can be found in areas that have no
dry season and have at least 60mm of precipitation per month. Tropical
rainforest are warm and humid and act as a habitat that suitable for mostly
plants and animals. They also serve as the Earth’s oldest ecological system.
Although a rainforest covers only around 6% of the earth, yet they account for
over half of the plants and animals. The largest tropical rainforest in the
world is The Amazon Jungle, with 5.5 million square kilometers of land across
nine territories. The majority of the Amazon Jungle covers 60% of Brazil, 13%
of Peru, 10 of Columbia, and with minor amounts in Guyana, Bolivia, Ecuador,
Venezuela, Suriname and French Guiana. The Amazon represents over half of the
earth’s remaining rainforests, and comprises the largest and most bio-diverse
tract of tropical rainforest in the world. Some scientists believe that the
Amazon rainforest has existed for a few million years. Various of species are
still discovered every year and it evolved abundance of life in these forests.
We can said that the tropical rainforest played an important role in maintaining
the diversity and even in human life.

            Tropical rainforests are also known as “the lungs of the
world” or “the carbon sink”. This is because of the millions and millions of
trees in Earth’s rainforests absorb tremendous amounts of carbon dioxide from
the atmosphere and produce much of the oxygen living things depend upon for
survival. The plants absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and release
oxygen into the atmosphere. To be accurate, rainforests contribute to about 20%
of the oxygen in the world. This is a critical function considering this era
where humans are producing so much carbon emission via fossil fuel, burning and
all forms of transportation.

            In addition, tropical rainforest is a great source that
provide food, medicine and other resources for humans. Tropical fruits such as
bananas, pineapples, coffee bean, nuts and etc are originates from rainforest.
Humans cut down trees for making furniture, paper, construction, toys and many
more. Literally, humans rely on woods for almost everything. Also, extracts
from plants can act as drug to cure humans’ disease and sickness. Rainforest
medicines have provided modern society with a variety of cures and pain
relievers. For example, alkaloid extracted from the bark of the
cinchona tree can cure malaria. This explains why rainforests should be
conserved at all costs.

            Other than that, rainforests also help to stabilize Earth’s
climate by absorbing greenhouse gases that causes global warming. All
rainforests have a canopy, which is a layer of branches and leaves formed at
the tops of the tall trees that make up the rainforest. Usually, the canopy are
100 feet or more above the ground. It helps to blocks sun rays during the day
and holds in heat during the night. In conclusion, rainforests helps to
regulating the Erath’s temperature.

            Tropical rainforests help to regulate the water cycle in
the Earth. Trees are vital in the water cycle as they suck up water and release
them into the atmosphere when photosynthesis and respiration. The large amount
of water produced are contribute to rainfall. If deforestation does not slow
down, the amount of water in the atmosphere will be decrease and less rainfall
will be produces, the climate could become drier and impossible to growing
crops, and resulting drought to occur.

What causes
deforestation?

            First of all, deforestation is used to make more land
available for urbanization and housing. This is due to the overpopulation on
our planet. The world’s population has exploded from an estimated
max of 15 million people in prehistory, to the 7 billion humans of today. To
reach the large amount of requirement of human needs and wants, therefore deforestation
occur. The planet’s forests are being devastated.

            Next, illegal logging also is one of the causes of
deforestation. Illegal logging is the cutting down of trees and selling them as
timber for economic gains against the prohibition by law. It involves the use
of inappropriate ways to reach the forests, cutting down the trees and selling
them without approval. As the high demand of woods for various purposes, it
encourages the people to do illegal logging.

            Illegal timber are sold cheaper than legal timber in the
black market. This leads to promote illegal logging. To
a great extent, this is fueling the demand for illegal timber which means more
illegal logging. Importers of illegal logs and the dependency of black wood in
countries such as Japan, China, the US, and EU makes the problem even worse.

            Lastly, the loose and weak institutions does not play
their role on tightening the laws and rules against the illegal logging that
causes deforestation. This creates room for businesses and individuals to
deliberately take advantage of the legislation gaps. Many of the companies use
a corrupt way to sell their harvest in the black market and gain a lot of
money.

Effect of Deforestation

1.     
Cause soil erosion, landslides and flash
flood

The
roots of the plants can help to grab the soil particle firmly. If deforestation
occurs on a hillside, the absent of the plant root system will make the soil
structure unstable and soil erosion occur. When rains heavily for a long period
of time, the top layer of the soil will disintegrates, shear strength decreases
and lead to landslides (refer to Appendix B.4.1). There are many landslides
occur every year and causes a lot of people injured, lose their homes and even
death. One of the significant landslide has occurred is Brazil landslide and
flash flood, in January 2011, killed at least 900 peoples. This landslides in
Rio de Janeiro became the worst weather-related natural disaster in Brazilian
history (refer to Appendix B.4.2). The eroded soil carried away by the
rainwater to the river and deposited at the bottom. This makes the river bank
become shallow and causes flash floods during raining seasons. In May 2004, a
flash flood that took place in the Caribbean Islands, mainly Hispaniola and
some parts of Northern Puerto Rico, due to deforestation has caused about 2000
deaths, nearly 15000 people were displaced with nowhere to live (refer to
Appendix B.4.3).

2.     
Loss of biodiversity

Due
to the destruction of millions of hectares of forests the habitat of many
species of plants and animals has been lost. This causes many species or plants
and animals become extinct, and many more remain endangered. More
than 80% of the world’s species remain in the tropical rainforest. It is
estimated that about 1 plant and 1 animals species extinct every 30 minutes due
to deforestations. As a results, it reduces biodiversity and the source of food
and medicine for humans.

3.     
Causing climatic changing globally

Due to the massive
cutting down of trees, the global average surface temperature increased about
0.7 degree Celsius during the past one century. Global warming is an issue
haunting several countries of the world. Without the trees to absorb the
greenhouse gases the situation is expected to worsen. For instance, the arctic
ice are melting rapidly and causing sea level to rise. https://e360.yale.edu/features/as_arctic_ocean_ice_disappears_global_climate_impacts_intensify_wadhams
.It
also disrupts the weather pattern by creating hotter and drier weather due to
less water vapour being released into the atmosphere. This leads to lesser
number of rainfall and causes the soil become dry and not fertile for plants to
grow; draught occur and animals have no water to drink.

4.     
Disrupts the carbon and nitrogen cycles

When
large scales of trees are destroyed by cutting, it will reduce rainfall,
photosynthesis rate and transpiration rate. This means that the rate of using
carbon dioxide by plants are reduced. Forests are constantly taking in carbon
(121.3Giga tonnes of carbon per year) and releasing carbon (61.6Giga tonnes of
carbon per year). Also, deforestation by burning is believed to
contribute about 20-30% of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. As the level of
oxygen in the atmosphere drops, the recycling of nitrates and other ions slow
down (refer to appendix B.4.4).

 

Solutions
to deforestations

1.    In-situ
conservation

In-situ
conservation is the conservation of genetic resources in natural habitats of
plant or animal species. It is considered the most appropriate way of
conserving biodiversity. It is the process of protecting an endangered plant or
animal species, either by protecting or cleaning up the habitat itself, or by
defending the species from predators. Examples of in-situ conservation are National Parks, Wild Life sanctuaries,
Biosphere Reserves and Gene Sanctuaries.

2.    Ex-situ
conservation

Ex-situ
conservation is a process of preserving an endangered species, variety or breed
of plants or animals outside their natural habitats. For instance, removing
part of the population from a jeopardized habitat and placing them in a new
location. This is because the natural habitat of the species is starting to
become insufficient for the growth of the species. Examples of ex-situ conservation
are captive breeding, gene banks, seed banks, zoos, aquaria, In vitro
fertilization, cryopreservation and tissue culture. It is also useful for
declining population of species. Endangered animals and plants species get to
breeded successfully based on the research and scientific work of scientist.
The breeded species are then released into the natural habitat again to
maintain the ecology.

3.    Reforestation

Reforestation is replanting plants that
have been depleted usually after deforestation. It requires an ongoing process
and should not be viewed as a onetime thing. The public, communities,
government and all kind of organization should play an important role on
practicing replanting. Reforestation allows the development of forest
structure, provide wildlife habitat, fix the carbon and nitrogen cycle and
stabilize the lands structure.

4.    Practice
3R (recycle, reduce and reuse)

Humans
should doing reuse, recycling and reduce the usage of items related to the
destruction of forest. Green methods of production and utilization of resources
can immeasurably reduce deforestation. Paper, plastics, and wood are linked to
the destruction of forests and other natural resources such as charcoal, coal
and minerals should be reduced. By focusing on recycling paper, plastics, and
wood products as well as adopting responsible consumerism, it means there will
be less dependence on the natural resources and trees. Resulting less trees
will be cutting down and slow down the deforestation process.

5.    Raise
awareness through campaigns

Deforestation
can also be counteracted through awareness and sensitization. Sensitization and
educative campaigns can be a simple but a more workable solution. Initiating
awareness creation champagnes makes it easy for people to detect the causes,
effects, and ways of counteracting deforestation. Thus, making conscious
efforts to share information with people including family, friends, colleagues,
and the entire community on deforestation and its effects.