Deforestation; The Arch-Enemy to Sustainable Forest Management and Climate Change

We are currently facing a crisis risking extinction of species through anthropogenic causes. A large proportion of the earths environmentally related disasters and problem can be linked to deforestation. Major environmental problem like flooding, erosion, leaching, loss of biodiversity, and climate change, are deeply rooted in deforestation. It’s the chieftain of all anthropogenic effects, as all other human influenced environmental disaster are linked to it. Deforestation involves the removal of trees from a particular without regeneration plans, it can also be defined as the change of the forest land in to other land use. This expose the soil and allows the contact from the direct rays of the sun. The forest is an important entity which provides numerous services ranging from providing shades, purifying the environment to carbon sequestration.

Deforestation comes in different forms and caused by different human actions. Poaching or illegal felling is one of the major causing effect of deforestation as well as clear cutting a forest without a regeneration plan or poor forest management; however, increase in population is the major of all the causes. Agriculture has been said to be greatest cause of deforestation in Africa, South America and Asia, but there will be no need for increased farmland if the population is constant, decreasing, or increases slowly. The world’s population is estimated to be more than 11 billion in 2030, and that infers increased pressure on the limited space and resources we have. As the world’s population increases so are the demands of the world from the forest. This brings up the question ‘Should the world stop growing because of the forest?’ That would be erroneous, the world should not stop is growth because of the forest, in the same way as the forest should not stops its growth because of the world population. The only way out of the dilemma which are in, is to strike a balance between the humans and the forests and this is achievable only through sustainable forest management techniques.

Agriculture, a major cause of deforestation is essential for the sustenance of the human race. Forest lands are readily seen as viable agricultural plains are converted, there’s however a trade off which are currently employed but in mass, which includes greenhouse production, agroforestry. These methods however are not suitable for mass production in comparison to converting a whole forest land into agricultural land. The triple R – Reduction-Recycling-Reusing, can also go a long way in reducing the loss of forest lands. Being a renewable material should be an advantage for the forest, but its gestation period presents a major disadvantage. Genetic improvements are being made to reduce the rotation period of certain choice tree species and this could be a massive boost if successfully accomplished.

Industrialization/Urbanization is another major cause of deforestation and this is also due to increasing human population. As forests lands are being converted into human monuments, buildings and important sites and as trees are removed from the forest without regeneration plan are processed into important products for human use and consumption, this presents a good for the short-term at the detriment of long-term bad effects like climate change and desertification. Multiple land-use is a better way to tackle issues like this. Advanced countries like Denmark, United Kingdoms, Japan, the United States of America try to manage their land efficiently, reducing the need to convert the forest lands for some land-use(s). Essential infrastructures like the underground drainage, subway trains and overhead trains, as well as bridges are ways these countries utilize their spaces. This might prove challenging for third world countries and a way around this should be formulated.

Olamide Adu

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