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Deforestation is the process of clearing forests or other barren places of trees in order to meet human needs. Natural forests are.... DEFORESTATION

Deforestation or forest degradation is the process of clearing forests or other barren places of trees in order to meet human needs. Natural forests are being cut down to make way for farming, the construction of dwellings and factories, the clearing of regions for cattle grazing, mining, the construction of dams, and other human activities.

Causes of Deforestation

  • Overgrazing, Urbanization, Mining
  •  high population growth leads to high land demand, timber demand, fuel, and food demand
  • Jhumming cultivation
  • Forest fire
  • Government policy
Shifting Cultivation
  • Shifting Cultivation is thought to be responsible for about half of tropical deforestation.
  • In shifting agriculture, crops are cleared from the land after two or three years of producing vegetables and grains.
  • As a result, detrimental consequences such as localized deforestation, soil erosion, and nutrient loss can be detected.
  • As a result of the rising demand for food and fodder, shifting agriculture is one of the primary causes of deforestation and land degradation.
Development Project
  • Deforestation has also been fueled by the construction of human infrastructure and development projects.
  • More specifically, new infrastructures that service the contemporary human lifestyle in four ways: transportation, transformation, and energy generation, account for 10% of deforestation.
  • On the one hand, roads, railways, ports, and airports have been created to transport a wide range of items – from grains and fruits to spices, minerals, and fossil fuels – to trading hubs or transformation sites.
Economical Impact
  • Deforestation makes it easier to generate raw materials for a variety of industries.
  • Agriculture, the woodworking industry, and the construction sector are all examples.
  • Overexploitation of wood and timber, on the other hand, can have a detrimental impact on the economy.
  • Deforestation produces short-term economic gains, but it also reduces long-term output.

Impacts of Deforestation

Environmental Impacts:
  • Deforestation is a contributor to global warming, and is often cited as one of the major causes of the enhanced greenhouse effect as it causes carbon stores held in soil to be released.
  • Deforestation affects wind flows, water vapor flows and absorption of solar energy thus clearly influencing local and global climate.
  • The water cycle is also affected by deforestation. Trees extract groundwater through their roots and release it into the atmosphere. When part of a forest is removed, the trees no longer transpire this water, resulting in a much drier climate.
Deforestation causes:
  • Increase in the rate of soil erosion. This can further lead to flooding in rivers and makes the soil susceptible to landslides.
  • Removal or destruction of significant areas of forest cover has resulted in a degraded environment with reduced biodiversity.
  • Deforestation can destroy genetic variations (such as crop resistance) irretrievably.
Economic Impacts:
  • A short-term economic gain made by conversion of forest to agriculture, or overexploitation of wood products, typically leads to a loss of long-term income and long-term biological productivity.

Controlling Measures of Deforestation

Role of Governments and other Administrative Authorities:
  • Implementation of security measures and strict laws to prevent illegal logging.
  • Increasing the count and range of forests under government protection.
  • Carefully planning the construction of infrastructure (roads, dams, etc.) in order to minimize the loss of forest area.
  • Investing in new technologies in the agricultural industry (such as hydroponics) and helping farmers implement eco-friendly agricultural practices (such as cyclic agriculture).
  • Optimizing the management of forests by banning inefficient agricultural practices (such as slash-and-burn agriculture).
  • Facilitating the production and use of wood alternatives to reduce the demand for timber. For example, bamboo can serve as an alternative to wood fuel.
Role of Individuals
  • Reduce – Reducing the amount of paper consumed by using alternatives wherever possible.
  • Reuse – Avoid use-and-throw products to prevent wastage.
  • Recycle – Diligently recycle all used wood and paper products.
  • To cover more and more wasteland and already deforested land with forests through vigorous planning of afforestation. Forests should not be replaced by commercially important fruit orchards.
  • For example, the cultivation of apples in many parts of the Himalayas in general and Himachal Pradesh (India) in particular has done great damage to the original stands of natural forests. Apple cultivation causes deforestation in two ways viz.
  1. Apple cultivation requires clearance of land from vegetal cover and
  2. A Huge quantity of wood is required for the packing of apples every year.

Also Read : Classification of Forest

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