Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Deforestation, Forest, Environment, World, Soil, Environmental Issues, Climate, Ecology

Pages: 7

Words: 1925

Published: 2020/10/06

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Environmental Law

Introduction
Deforestation is a revolution of forestland in a range of land uses. The approximate figures for deforestation revealed that there had been substantial worldwide deforestation that occurred in the years 1990-2010. According to National Geographic website, deforestation refers to the clearing of the forests on a substantial scale that may result in the destruction of the quality of the land area in a territory. The forests encompass at least thirty (30) percent of the land area across of the globe. Studies had shown that the size of Panama is being dissipated each year. Thus, it is forecasted that the rain forests on earth may totally disappear in the next one hundred years if the present rate of deforestation continues. The main reason why the forests are being torn down is because of money and to finds lucrative means to support their families. Deforestation is strongly connected to agriculture as the farmers cut tress to give additional space to plant crops or to graze livestock. Majority of small-time farmers clear acres of land in order to feed their families as they cut down the trees and burn them. This is called the “slash and burn” process in agriculture.
According to Culas, tropical deforestation is one of the most severe environmental problems that we face today. It has become one of the biggest problems in the world since deforestation is associated with biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. Despite the damaging effects of deforestation on the present ecological condition of tropical streams, it is unfortunate that there had been hardly investigations conducted to resolve the problem. In addition, amidst the glaring evidence of the negative losses that that had affected these streams, the deforestation issue continues to persist. It is a global concern since tropical forests is of high importance in biodiversity conservation and minimizing the greenhouse effects.
Thesis Statement: Deforestation is a critical threat for the world’s ecosystem which can affect the future of all mankind which can be prevented by creation of stronger policies to protect the forest areas.

Discussion

The latest trends in deforestation show that it had occurred in the temperate and sub-tropical areas in 19th and 20th centuries and has not been felt in the developed temperate countries. Majority of the temperate countries have started to recover their forest areas. Although tropical deforestation has been considered as a modern event in the world during 1990-2010, it has gained its momentum in the tropical regions in the globe.
Even though not all deforestation has been intentional, may believe that the destruction of forests may be a result of a combination of both natural and human factors. Some of the human factors include wildfires and overgrazing to stop the growth of new trees. In fact, deforestation carries various negative effects on the environment such as the loss of habitat for several rare species. At least 70 percent of the parcels of land, plants and animals living in the forests die of deforestation since such act caused the destruction of homes. However, many of these ecosystems provide essential environmental services for human benefit such as biodiversity conservation, carbon storage and water supply.
The degradation of forests has occurred through logging, forest fires and other effects that are related to forest fragmentation. Forest degradation has the tendency to affect deforestation which had been exacerbated by climate change and ocean temperatures. Other negative effects of deforestation may result to frequent droughts and longer dry seasons, which had been the shown by the forest conversion which had taken place for the past four decades. To be able to understand deforestation, forest fragmentation and biomass collapse, it is important to study the land-use interactions and socio-environmental impacts.

Effects of Deforestation

The negative effects of deforestation can be a result of the combination of human and natural factors including wildfires and overgrazing that hinders the growth of new trees. Another detrimental effect of deforestation on the environment is a loss of habitat for several species on Earth such as plants and animals that live in forests. Its effect on soil erosion can result to the loss of nutrients in plants by exposing them to the heat of the sun. Since the soil moisture is exposed to heat, it dries up and the so the nutrients evaporate. The rain washes also flushes down the soil surfaces leading to erosion. Deforestation has also affected majority of the farmers due to the clearing forests for agriculture deteriorates as the areas are cleared. When this event occurs happens, the ecosystem services provided by the forests will be reduced which include the quality of water and soil nutrients which may result to a reduced crop yield.. The intensity of deforestation at the local level has the tendency to affect not only the water quality, water flow downstream, but also the biodiversity and nature tourism of the identified forestlands. Deforestation can lead to flash floods and the change of ownership from the state to people who reclaimed their property.
Biodiversity loss is caused by habitat fragmentation and deforestation. Biodiversity is the main cause of loss of original habitat, diminution of the remaining area, augmented isolation of the remnants, and the augmented remnant area under edge effects. Butt argued that activities such as illegal and intensive cuttings for high market value such as timber, and other household uses like fuel wood, forest disease and ineffective forest management among others have accelerated the deforestation rate in the watershed area. Aside from this, the water holding capacity of the soil is reduced, thus resulting to erosion, destruction of aquatic habitat and a decline of the water quality. Furthermore, the elimination of a forest cover from steep slopes has drastically accelerated the frequency of landslides and surface runoffs.
The best approach to quantify the climatological effects of deforestation is through the implementation of ideal scenarios, wherein the land forest area is removed and replaced by a single land cover type such as bare soil or grass. The early global climate model (GCM) studies on tropical deforestation had been mainly focused on Amazon deforestation. The rate of deforestation at the local level carries detrimental effects within the national level through soil erosion, siltation, and nutrient runoff, which is a result of a river system or sea, and has the tendency to injure the ecology and the fishery. Other effect of deforestation is that it can drive climate change. The soil can quickly dry out since most of the forest soils are moist, and without any protection from the trees to serve as sun block coverage. The logging operations of some companies serve as the source of wood and paper products in various parts of the world which had caused the cutting-down of several trees every year.

Environmental Laws and Policies

In 1985, the Tropical Forestry Action Plan (TFAP) was created in order to address the weak forest governance and limited institutional capacity in tropical forest countries. However, it failed to appreciate the complex drivers of deforestation. As a result, the creation of national planning exercises severely discounted the rights and livelihoods of forest-dependent peoples, and accelerated deforestation in other countries by opening up new areas to logging.
Since the Kyoto Protocol in 2000, there were frustrations that attended the Kyoto approach that had given way to favor deforestation and other forest related activities. This
prompted the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) meeting in Montreal in 2005 wherein a group of nine nations led by Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica, created the Coalition for Rainforest Nations (CfRN) to formal propose the concept of “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries” or (REDD). Such proposal was intended to call upon the parties to the UNFCCC to acknowledge the problem on deforestation within developing nations as well as the resulting carbon emissions. The emergence of REDD in 2005 became the initial tangible effort to review the terrestrial carbon cycle, tropical deforestation, into a global environmental governance regime.

Solutions

There should be policies enacted which should be aimed to reduce the emissions from deforestation can provide a way for tackling global warming and climate change. Such policies should be enacted for the purpose of striking a balance between the protection of human environment and the economical growth. These policies and regulations can effectively solve the problem on deforestation. Akkermans, et al. argued that the response of surface climate to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions should be carefully studied for the purpose of enhancing realism compared to preceding impact studies. Trees should also be planted in order to aid in promoting the water cycle of returning water vapor to the atmosphere. The role of the trees is to cover the forest soil and without which, these forest lands can easily become barren deserts for lack of protection from the sun.
Another purpose of the trees is to absorb the greenhouse gases which can cause global warming. When the world has reduced forest lands, it can result to substantial amounts of greenhouse gases that can enter the atmosphere. Thus, the end result is a more severe case of global warming. The best and fastest solution to deforestation is to prevent the cutting of trees. Another practical solution is to handle the forest resources is by ensuring that the forest environments shall remain intact. As the trees are being cut down, it must be balanced by the planting of new trees that will substitute the older trees inside forests. Hence, it best to monitor the planting of a significant number of new trees to protect our forests.
Other possible solution to prevent deforestation is by forest regrowth. It has been referred to as an intermediate vegetation stage that carries mixed characteristics of the preceding and following fallow stages such as grass and young secondary forest. Thus, it is recommended to make that the proportion is equally split and allocated to the two vegetation types.
Another recommendation is the creation of specific project activities which aim to lessen the deforestation and the reinforcement of forest land-tenure and formulation of land-use plans of countries in different parts of the world. Another solution is the implementation of site-based activities including community-based forest protection, use of fuel-efficient stoves, agricultural intensification, and development of non-timber forest products.

Conclusion

Deforestation is a critical threat for the world’s ecosystem which can affect the future of all mankind. Aside from the negative effects of deforestation brought about by the combination of human and natural factors such as wildfires and overgrazing, it hinders the progress of human life. It also causes the loss of habitat for several species on Earth such as plants, trees and animals. Deforestation also causes soil erosion and the loss of nutrients in plants by exposing them to the heat of the sun. When soil moisture is exposed to heat, the nutrients in plants evaporate and the rain washes also leads to erosion. Deforestation affects the livelihood of the farmers due to the clearing forests. Thus, agriculture deteriorates as the areas are cleared.

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