Deforestation: The International Epidemic This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 13, 2010
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All around the world forests are feeling our need for more and more wood. From Asia to the U.S. many trees are quickly vanishing. This epidemic is called deforestation. Trees are an essential part of life on Earth and something must be done to stop or even just slow it. Deforestation is a major problem that affects everyone.

Deforestation is taking place all over the world. According to the University of Michigan, from 1980 to 1990 Asia had an estimated 11% annual deforestation rate which is the worst in the world. One of the many causes of deforestation is population growth. Population is constantly growing in many third world countries causing trees to be cut down to make room for more people.

The effects of deforestation are many. Tropical rainforests cover only 6% of Earth’s surface, but they contain between 70% and 90% of the entire world’s species. Because of deforestation we are losing 50 to 100 animal and plant species each day.

Deforestation also drastically affects the ground through erosion and flooding. The soil in rainforest floors is very poor and unstable. When the trees are cut down, vital nutrients are taken from the soil making it weak and unstable. When the heavy rains come there are no root systems to hold the soil in place and the forest suffers tremendous erosion. Erosion also causes much of any remaining nutrients to be washed into the rivers. The social impact of forest erosion can be tremendous as well. People who live in or around forest regions can be forced to move away and to safer locations which can often result in more trees being cut down.

Flooding is another serious environmental and social consequence of deforestation. Clearing the trees from forests greatly increases the amount of surface run-off. This happens mainly because there is no thick canopy to stop and absorb much of the rain water. When the trees are left standing, flooding is not a major concern, but once they are taken away, all of the heavy rains reach the now open ground and results in major floods and mudslides.

Deforestation has many terrible consequences, but there are many ways to stop or reduce it. One very easy way is to recycle paper products. This obviously reduces the amount of trees that need to be cut down for use in paper. Another is to plant some trees of your own. This probably won’t help reduce the amount of trees that need to be harvested commercially, but it can help return some of the gases necessary for life on Earth back to the atmosphere. Also we need to start looking to alternatives for wood. Many may argue that alternatives may be worse for the environment, but I think the benefits of saving trees far outweighs the negative parts of alternatives.

Deforestation is a world wide problem with many negative effects. If this problem doesn’t get taken care of soon it may be too late. Trees are too valuable to lose, and without them life on earth would be next to impossible. I think if everyone does their share in helping with this problem, it may be stopped.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Thorburn said...
Jun. 16, 2010 at 9:31 pm
Right on!!
FlecksofGoldenHope said...
Jun. 9, 2010 at 5:41 pm
Why do people destroy plants and animals homes to create their own? Why do we act as if we are more important than wildlife? Why don't we adapt to enviroment, why does it have to adapt to us? I mean, the trees and animals were here first. And if we think about in the animals point of view, who can honestly say that they wouldn't mind if someone took down their home and said they wanted to live there and the original owner had to find a new home. Nobody would say that was fine. What some people d... (more »)
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