Deforestation has affected the U.S. in many ways

By Carter Burtle

         Deforestation has been happening for decades. With the growing world population we need more places to put individuals and more room for food to grow. There’s a great solution that many think, why don’t we just clear out forests to gain more land?

         As stated on Global Forest Watch, “New analysis reveals that since 2000, more than 8 percent of the world’s Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs) have been degraded—an area measuring 104 million hectares, or three times the size of Germany.” Many of the earth’s forests have been either degraded or destroyed in the last 23 years. 

         I believe that deforestation is wrong and has contributed to climate change and harmed the earth in the process. Loss of animal and plant life has been an effect of deforestation. Increasing greenhouse gas emissions have also been an outcome. Lastly, soil erosion and flooding have been greatly affected by deforestation. These reasons all lead me to think that deforestation is harmful to the earth. 
 concluded that  137 species of plants and animals are affected daily by deforestation, “When we cut down forests, more than just animals die. Rainforests are home to a wide range of plants and animals, and when we destroy them, we also destroy many different microorganisms.” When primary forests are brutally destroyed, animals end up moving to a secondary forest, which does not suit the needs or natural resources that the animal needs to survive. 

         Plants and trees take in carbon dioxide when they perform photosynthesis, correct? What happens when we don’t have an adequate amount of trees to perform photosynthesis?

         Healthy forests and ecosystems absorb about 30% of CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels alone. When an area is deforested, many of those rotting or burning trees release carbon back into the atmosphere. 

         As seen in today’s news, we have either been hit by major droughts or flooding in the U.S. alone. Rainforests aid in cloud formation. In forests, moisture collects on trees and foliage and the soil retains moisture through its root systems. With no trees, the soil conserves much less water.

         The Daily Journal Storage (Jstor) states, “Models showed a 30% reduction in evaporation from a savannah compared to a forest, with a corresponding reduction in rainfall.” This shows that there are indeed increased rates of drought. Recently in Jakarta, major floods took 30 lives and cost IDR 32 trillion in 2013. Normally the forests would conserve 50-70% of that water, but due to deforestation, there are no forests in sight. 

         Some might argue that deforestation is a good thing, that it doesn’t harm the environment. Some reasons that deforestation is conceived as good in some cases include more land for agriculture, income-earning activities, overcrowding issues, and even can help tax revenues. These reasons will indeed help the economy. 

         However, the reasons just listed only really benefit humans. If you consider the environment, you will end up with no forests, a food chain that doesn’t function, little to no microorganisms that induce crop growth, composting and nutritious fruits and vegetables as well as poor air quality due to fossil fuels and once again deforestation. 

         Deforestation does tie a lot together, it provides clear answers to what we need to be doing with the earth (not burning down forests)! Deforestation does hurt the environment and contributes to climate change.

         Next time you hear about deforestation being done through the government and wealthy individuals, think about our future generations, animals’ homes being taken away, death caused by flooding and drought, and much more. 

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