Deforestation can occur due to natural causes or due to human activities. A fire, without going any further, that produces deforestation can have its origin in man or be caused by nature, such as when lightning strikes a tree. Currently, the rate of deforestation is too high. Forests are ecosystems that recover very slowly. Some varieties of flora species and, indirectly, the fauna that live there, are in danger if the forest disappears.
For this reason, at AgroCorrn we talk about deforestation and its causes , consequences and possible solutions. Pay attention because below, we show what are the causes of deforestation or tree felling and many more details that should be known on this subject.
What is deforestation
We can define deforestation as the process of stripping a forest land of its plants and trees, that is, of its vegetation. Forests serve valuable functions in nature and losing them is very damaging to the environment and also contributes to climate change, as trees sequester carbon as they grow. Only in some very specific cases can this process be beneficial for the planet.
Thus, deforestation occurs when there is a massive or uncontrolled felling of trees . This produces great changes in the ecosystem, as we will see later.
Among the main causes of deforestation we can find some of the hand of the human being and others due to natural phenomena. We can only avoid, solve and control the former and by improving the current state of the planet we can help rebalance the latter.
Causes of man-made deforestation
Human activities are the main cause of deforestation and, also, it is the most serious cause as it is avoidable. Among the main causes of deforestation produced by humans are:
Indiscriminate or poorly managed logging
Millions of hectares are cut down or burned to extract timber and other products or to convert forests into farmland. For the most part, these activities are carried out in developing countries, more dependent on wood and without adequate control over land use. It is not about living without wood or paper, much less without food, but forests must be managed sustainably. Hence the importance of acquiring products with the sustainable management certificate.
At times, ranchers raze thousands of hectares of forest, as in Brazil and other countries, so that the cattle feed for one or two years. Afterwards, the soil is depleted and they have to move to another place.
The expansion of urban centers is another cause of the felling of trees or deforestation caused by man. More and more people are living in cities while rural areas are depopulated. It is built outrageously and for this you need space that is obtained by destroying forests and jungles.
Natural causes of deforestation
¿ What causes deforestation apart from human activities? Well, the truth is that there are some causes of deforestation of natural origin :
In summer, forest fires destroy thousands of hectares of forest. In addition, with climate change, these forest fires are becoming more frequent and destructive. Australia and the United States are suffering, in recent years, terrible forest fires, in the vast majority of cases, caused by the negligence of some people. But just as man-made felling of trees, fires are not always man-made. However, even though they are natural, the damage to the environment caused by fires is enormous, apart from the deforestation itself.
In the following AgroCorrn article you will see the dire consequences of a forest fire .
Pests and diseases in forests
Tree pests and diseases are another natural cause of deforestation. An extreme case is the one that is occurring in the forests of North America, where a beetle is slaughtering millions of trees.
Consequences of deforestation
Now that we have discussed what causes tree loss, let’s talk about the consequences of deforestation that can be more or less serious and, in some situations, can be dire.
Alteration of the water cycle
Trees attract rain and forests are a vital part of the water cycle. For this reason, by losing forest masses, the behavior of the water in the area is modified, as it moves to other parts with vegetation.
The serious thing, really, is the indiscriminate or uncontrolled logging, apart from the fires caused, since without a subsequent reforestation and without proper management of the forests, this area will become a desertified area.
In this other AgroCorrn post we talk about Desertification: definition, causes and consequences .
Loss of habitat, biodiversity and soil
Deforestation leads to damage to ecosystems , a loss of biodiversity and aridity on the ground . In addition, the fixation of carbon dioxide (CO2) is avoided, thus contributing to climate change . Deforested regions tend to soil erosion and eventually become non-productive land. Which leads to no vegetation growing, not serving as a food area and shelter for animals or for us to grow food.
Loss of large forest masses
Some places that suffer from this problem in a serious way, since one part is controlled but another very large one is not, are areas of Latin America, rich in forests and jungles, such as the Amazon area. In this other article we show you the Deforestation of the Amazon, its causes and consequences . Likewise, deforestation in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Peru is very significant, since in several areas of these places there is massive logging for various reasons. We also recommend you read this other article about Deforestation in Argentina .
Global climate modification
As forests and jungles are lost, as we have indicated, the water cycle and temperatures are modified in the region and also globally. Therefore, more actions are added that accelerate global warming and climate change.
How to avoid deforestation
Apart from knowing the causes of tree felling and the possible consequences of it, you have to think about solutions to deforestation and ways to avoid it. The first big step to avoid deforestation , as in any area of vital importance for the planet, is to reach a great global agreement between governments around the world. Preventive and remedial measures must be established for the problem. But in the personal sphere, certain actions can also be carried out. Personal responsibility cannot be avoided in this problem. Certain gestures, no matter how insignificant they may seem, can help tackle the problem. For example, recycling paper. Lower consumption of paper by the population would force production companies not to need as much raw material.
Sustainable forest management certificates
On the other hand, it is essential to keep forests and green areas clean . In this way, fires caused by glass, soda cans and other types of debris are prevented. Finally, you have to stay informed about the bad practices that companies carry out to boycott, if it is the case, their products. Large areas of forests and jungles depend on responsible consumption. Greenpeace and other environmental organizations publish reports on the matter. In addition, consuming certified sustainable forest management products (such as those promoted by FSC or PEFC) helps to keep forests in good condition.
To finish and to create a more realistic idea about this activity and the great problem it poses when it is carried out in an uncontrolled way, we leave a gallery of images of deforestation related to a variety of causes:
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