BY: GAZAL BHATNAGAR,VIDHYARTHI DARPAN
DEFINITION AND MEANING:
Deforestation means the process of cutting down and burning the trees in forest and woodland and converting the land to other use. In other words, it is the destruction of forest, removal of vegetation from an area and clearing of trees for various commercial purposes and for fulfilling the personal needs. Deforestation is the quick woodland devastation through the incessant cutting of plants without replanting.
CAUSES OF DEFORESTATION:
3. Over Population
5. Over Grazing
6. Shifting Cultivation
7. Fuel Wood
8. Forest Fires
10. Industry Establishment
11. Encroachment of Forest
12. Forest Diseases
14. Ravine Formation
Due to Globalization many industries and factories are built which emit carbon di oxide that affects the trees and forests. India and China are the major countries where trees and forests are used to produce products and supplies in various parts of the world.
As the world progresses, trees are cleared to oblige growing urban regions for the utilization of construction materials, furniture, paper products, material utilized for highways and streets and timberlands. They are cut down to create land for grazing cattle and for growing crops. Trees are also cut down in developing countries to be used as firewood or turned into charcoal, which are used for cooking and heating purposes.
An increase in population increases the products consumption for which the trees are being destroyed. The fundamental needs are asylum and food supplied with the aid of forests where an ideal measure of utilization and development is required.
Over population in countries like China and India are a result where deforestation rate is higher than comparative countries. The considerable demand for housing in the urban sector increases the demand for wood in the construction of the houses. With more demand, greater is the harm done to the forests. As the land area is limited, the only option for the real estate dealers is to buy the forest land for cheap, clear them and make housing sites for the population.
Atmosphere influences people as well as trees, streets, and little plants. The major factor is “ACID RAIN”. Waxy outer coating that covers the leaves is weakened by acid rain.When this happens, it allows the acid to seep into the tree that protects the leaves. Instead of water that changes from a liquid to a gas inside the leaves, gas takes the place of the water. This stops the plant from absorbing carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, and the plant then dies.
Another factor of climate is global warming. As the temperature increases than the average temperature, it affects the growth of the plants and soil thus leading to deforestation.
Overgrazing not only destroys forests regenerated growth but also makes soil more compact and impervious. Soil becomes less fertile due to destruction of organic matter and the seeds of certain species do not germinate in excessively grazed soils which results in reduction of species. This leads to desertification. Overgrazing also accelerates the soil erosion which results in the removal of minerals and nutrients from the topsoil and adversely affects the soil structure that ultimately lowers the productivity. The uncontrolled and indiscriminate grazing in the forests leads to degradation of forest soil and affect natural regeneration of forests. Due to excess grazing of the cattle in the grazing lands, the topsoil is washed away which makes it useless for any purpose, including grazing. This prompts to clear the forest areas for growing fodder which led to deforestation.
In North Eastern India, due to heavy water erosion shifting cultivation is locally called “JHUM”. Numerous ranchers slaughter the woods for farming and business purposes and another timberland territory is devastated when soil fertility is depleted because of continued cropping. This degrades about one million hectare land every year thus leading to deforestation.
Maximum forest habitat destruction is performed for wood-fuel. In India alone, the annual demand for firewood was 235 million cubic meters (according to Forest survey of India, 1987) where 135 million tons of firewood was consumed in rural areas while 23 million tons was consumed in urban areas.
So, fuel wood is a big deforestation cause.
Some fires are incidental while the majority of them are deliberate. According to Forest Survey of India (1996), 53.1% forest vegetation was affected by fire which destroyed about 0.5 million hectares of forests annually. Thus, frequent fires are the major cause of deforestation.
According to Forest Survey of India 1987, the annual demand of timber was 12 million cubic meters. Thus, the increased demand for timber led to a rapid depletion of forest. Timber and plywood industries are mainly responsible for the destruction of forest trees and deforestation.
For the establishment of factories and industries, precious plants, wild animals, and rare birds are destroyed, and the quality of environment is adversely affected. The forest-based industries such as Resin and Turpentine industry are responsible for the destruction of trees in the hills as raw materials are supplied to these industries thus causing deforestation.
Encroachment of Forest:
It means encroachment by tribal on forest land for agriculture and other purposes. According to Forest Survey of India, about 7 million hectares of forest land has been encroached for agriculture which produced environmental hazards and deforestation.
Many diseases that are caused by parasitic fungi, rusts, viruses and nematodes causes’ death and decay of forest plants. Young seedlings are destroyed due to attack of nematodes. Many diseases such as heart rot, blister rust, oak will, phloem necrosis and Dutch elm disease, etc. damage the forest trees in large numbers.
The landslides occur mainly in the areas where developmental activities are in progress. The construction of roads and railways particularly in hilly terrains, setting up of big irrigation projects have caused enough destruction to forest and accelerated the natural process of denudation. Deforestation due to landslide in the hills is the major concern.
The forested areas and farming grounds at the edges of large stream gorges (Yamuna and Chambal) face a severe soil disintegration risk. Once the ravines are formed, they continue to destroy the vegetational cover.
EFFECTS OF DEFORESTATION:
1. Deforestation results in many effects like loss of animals home, death of animals, environmental changes, seasonal changes, increase in temperature, rise in environmental heat, global warming, increase in greenhouse gases, melting of ice caps and glaciers, increase in sea level, weakening of ozone layer, hole in the ozone layer, death of sea animals, increasing risks of natural disaster like Storms, cyclones, typhoons, floods, droughts and many other adverse shifts that are sufficient to last life on earth.
2. It is affecting the human lives to a great extent by forcing the negative changes to the environment and atmosphere.
3. Deforestation affects human wellbeing and the new ecosystem by means of atmosphere unevenness, rising an Earth-wide temperature boost, soil disintegration, floods, elimination of biodiversity, diminishing levels of fresh oxygen and rising carbon dioxide, expanding air contamination and expanding levels of toxic gases.
All the harmful impacts of deforestation are causing numerous medical issues, and above all else lung and respiratory issues.
4. Deforestation is not only disturbing the human lives by causing several imbalance ecologically and environmentally but also alarming continuously and indicating the need to stop cutting plants for the safety of human lives. A few people do deforestation to accomplish their insatiability of acquiring money from wood. People are cutting plants for their agricultural activities, logging (to make papers, match-sticks, furniture etc.), urbanization (road construction, housing etc.), desertification of land, mining (oil and coal mining), and fires (to get heat) etc.
5. It disrupts the carbon cycle. The forest trees take carbon dioxide as well as the atmosphere. It affects the human lives and causes an imbalance in ecology and environment. The human health is affected by the pollution which is occurred by deforestation. The land pollution, air pollution and global warming are the main reasons for the various effects on human, wildlife, and nature.
6. Population growth and agricultural development has put unprecedented pressure on India’s forests in the past half century. With the simultaneous rise in both the number of cattle and the amount of land under cultivation, livestock owners were forced to move to forest areas to graze their herd. As indicated by the State of the Forest Study 1995, 78 percent of all woods have undergone frequencies of deforestation and 74 percent of forests need recovery.
Prompt impacts of deforestation incorporate the washing ceaselessly of soil in the rainstorm season. This is because trees are no longer connecting and holding the soil and so mud slides are possible. The earth is leached of minerals by the large amounts of water. The absence of vegetation likewise implies not many creatures will be found in the field. Most of nutrients are stored in the vegetation and the trees, so if these factors receive bad cycle, our eco-system will be destroyed. Once the trees and plants are cut down, essential nutrients are separated easily and are washed out by rainfall. Thus, we would lose the nutrients for our body needs for daily life. In the event that the ground gets dries and splits under the sun’s warmth without the shelter of the trees, we cannot develop any plants in light of the fact that the soil components are lost. According to the statistics, nearly 80% of tropical forest soil is now infertile, and they will cause worse eco-system which will affect the animals who live there and their habitats. It may change their genetic as well.
SOCIAL EFFECTS OF DEFORESTATION:
1. Deforestation has so many social effects on our society. Its impact not only affects humans but also plants, animals, and the surrounding environment. It causes and forces the surrounding to adapt in order to survive such difficult situations.
2. Indigenous people who consider the forests as their primary habitats are rendered homeless when forests are depleted. This can be seen in mostly undeveloped areas where many people use the forest as their primary habitat. The people living in these areas are forced to move while their surroundings are being altered. The cutting down of forest trees forces the people who live around such areas to move and seek shelter elsewhere.
3. People and animals who live in the rainforest areas depends on their natural environment. Individuals who live close to the timberland in these regions typically rely on their indigenous habitat for fundamental things like food, shelter, water and so forth. Cutting down the trees in those areas usually tend to affect all living things and surroundings that forces them to migrate and look for another conducive atmosphere.
4. Social conflicts and struggles over land and other resources results in the loss of lands and people who live there have to migrate to other places in search of land and resources.
FACTS RELATED TO DEFORESTATION IN INDIA:
1. Deforestation could lead to changes in surface conditions, which would increase the intensity and decrease the duration of rainfall, thereby increasing run-off. This causes soil erosion which leads to the riverbeds being silted. This is how floods occur.
2. India is losing 1.5 million hectares (mha) of forests per year, thereby bringing down the total forest area from 74 mha to 40 mha.
3. Deforestation causes loss of top soil to the tune of 12000 million tons.
4. Due to deforestation, India loses Rs 10,000 crores every year in the form of damage by floods.
ISSUES IN DEFORESTATION:
1. On the rural side, the issue is that the people are depended on the forests for wood fuel and that is why their needs are fulfilled as well as the forests are not depleted because of their actions.
2. On the urban side, we must remember that the trend of consumerism has found currency with the urbanites accompanied with total disregard for the environment. So, can the consumerist attitude and the conversationalist attitude co-exist?
3. Corporates are facing increasing pressure from various organizations to take care of the environment, yet there is no social concern or initiative coming from them directly. Can the government be unbiased in its actions?
4. Almost all the forests are owned by the government and it is their responsibility to see that the forests are safeguarded. But due to lack of political will and pressure from other sectors, the government is not able to decide and act on its own. Can the government be unbiased in its actions?
5. The standard of fixing (33% compulsory forest cover) for all the states of the nation is not a viable, as there are various differences among the states, and many of them are solely dependent on the forest resources for their revenue. Can a region-specific target be drawn up, so that the overall forest cover concedes to the total target of 33%?
6. It is noteworthy to mention that the rate of deforestation exceeds the rate of afforestation. As the land area is fixed, and the cleared forests are used for other purposes, can the scheme of afforestation be successful in the near future?
7. There is a close link between agriculture and forestry. With improvements in the agriculture sector, and with the increase in population, there is a continuous need for upgrading the resources. Can the forest resources be experimented with the modern technologies?
OVERVIEW OF WORLDWIDE DEFORESTATION:
Everyday more than thousands of trees are cut down all over the world to use the timber as a major source of fuel, building material and paper products. Urbanization has forced man to acquire huge forest areas. As population grows, the need for agricultural land has also increased over the years. Deforestation has such a large number of detrimental environmental effects. One of the most severe consequences of this is the natural surroundings loss of numerous creature species.
Thus, deforestation can alter the earth’s biodiversity making a lot of rare species even more extinct. Deforestation also plays a major role in global warming and it is also responsible to the contribution of up to 20% of the total greenhouse gases emitted. Trees play a major role in absorbing most of the greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. As lots of trees are cut down, the concentration of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increases thus increasing the temperature of the earth. Another immediate impact of deforestation is expanded soil disintegration. This can also lead to unnatural floods and droughts. Clearing forests can disrupt the normal water flow thus causing abnormal floods and droughts. Plants consume water through roots, discharges into the air that creates mists and downpour.
As population grows so does the rise and demand of more forests to be cut down and this leads to deforestation. This is a breakdown of land area per sq. km 2002/2008.
SOLUTION TO DEFORESTATION:
1. Reforestation: Because of public education, new technology and innovation has occurred in most parts of the world that implements reforestation and it very well may be found in nations across Asia.
2. Legislation: Due to new laws and regulations it can be seen that new trees have been planted and old trees are not allowed to be cut down. If this continues there might be a chance to stop deforestation and reverse the whole process completely.
3. Wildlife Sanctuaries: Sanctuaries are very important, not only to save wildlife, but to save trees as well. Sanctuaries go a long way in protecting all wildlife.
4. Cities: All cities should be managed properly. The new projects need to be controlled and planned accordingly and new trees should be planted in the process.
5. Commercial Forest Plantation: There should be a special forest plantations for all the wood that is required by the industries. In this manner the wood can be cut in a controlled and regulated environment.
6. Water Management: Improper water management affects deforestation in a big way. If the wildlife does not have water, then the entire ecosystem will be damaged. The construction of new dams should be planned properly, and area receives abundance of water.
The government must be blamed for the destruction of the forests due to:
1. Their flexibility in allocating the forest land to corporates under political pressure.
2. The distribution of lands to tribal people, on which agriculture cannot be done due to soil variety. This causes the allotted land to be wasted as the cleared land for agriculture can no longer be used for the purpose intended nor can they be used as forest cover as earlier.
OTHER REASONS OF DEFORESTATION:
1. One of the major reasons for the destruction of the forests are the building of dam’s reservoirs. These projects, albeit, intended for the benefit of the people, extends on the reverse side into trouble for the people. Displacement of the masses on one side, the projects cause large areas of virgin forests to be destroyed ruthlessly.
2. The other reason could be attributed to the lack of vigilance of the people who use the forest as camps. Their carelessness may cause forest fires which devours large areas of lush green forests.
UNIVERSAL SOLUTION TO DEFORESTATION:
Forests are an important natural resource for any country and deforestation retards a country’s development. Essential assets can only be accessed by “Afforestation” to fulfill the needs of the growing populace. Afforestation refers to the scheduled of planting trees for food and fodder development. Nurseries play a significant part in growing the cover of forests. As significant for what it is worth for a youngster to attain a nursery through her/his youthful age, so it is for plants to develop under appropriate consideration and security. This prepares them to withstand adverse situations during planting.
There is some hope. Projects with solar powered ovens reduce the need to cut the trees for fuel. Crops best suited for poorer soils is being introduced.
Woodlands are very important for appropriate irrigation, medication, air newness, air contamination reduction, wood obtaining for some reasons and so on. It upsets all the procedures when we cut plants and impacts human lives. Instead of cutting plants to fulfill the need of paper, we should make the habit of recycling the old things as possible and avoid cutting of new plants. As existence without water is beyond the realm of imagination, similarly existence without plants and trees is likewise unrealistic as it is the wellspring of sunlight, natural air, creature environment, shadows, wood and so on.