Deforestation involves the cutting down, burning, and damaging of forests.
Deforestation can be defined as the change of forest with depletion of tree crown cover more than 90%. However, depletion of forest tree crown cover less than 90% is considered forest degradation.
Causes of Deforestation:
The main causes of deforestation are summarized below:
(i) Population explosion
(ii) Agriculture: shifting cultivation, overgrazing, cash crop economy etc.
(iii) Commercial logging: cutting trees for sale as timber or pulp
(vii) Infrastructure creation for logging
(ix) Acid rain
(x) Development projects and housing projects.
Image Source: assets.worldwildlife.org
Effects of Deforestation:
The ill-effects of deforestation are summarized below:
(i) Soil erosion:
Soil is exposed to wind, sunlight, and evaporation due to deforestation. Soil fertility goes down due to soil erosion and rapid leaching of essential mineral nutrients.
(ii) Harm to fisheries:
As the soil is eroded, it accelerates siltation in dams, rivers, and the coastal zone. The increased sedimentation harms downstream fisheries.
(iii) More floods and droughts:
Because of deforestation, there is no regulation of the flow into rivers. As result, floods and droughts alternate in the affected areas.
(iv) Habitat loss of wildlife:
Butterflies, migratory birds, wild animals suffer due to the loss of their habitat.
(v) Extinction of some species:
Many species are affected and some get extincted.
(vi) Local and global climate changes:
The rainfall pattern is affected as the forest is cut down. Local and global climate changes may result from deforestation.
(vii) Global warming:
If the trees are burned, the carbon is released immediately as carbon dioxide which leads to global warming.
(viii) Danger for the survival of local communities:
Communities lose their source of food, fuel, construction materials and areas for livestock grazing by deforestation.