Sabtu, 04 Juli 2009

The Effects of Deforestation in our World

By Erin Hunt

Many of the earth’s most delicate ecosystems have been affected by rampant and irresponsible deforestation. Although the dire effects are well known and documented by researches around the world, deforestation still persists by those who wish to flout the law. Why are forest ecosystems so valuable and what are the effects of deforestation in our world?

Among the ecosystems that currently exist, forest ecosystem have been widely recognized as one of the most efficient and delicate on earth. Forests are important ecosystems because they hold many important nutrients and help to recycle nutrients too. They are also important because they absorb and hold water thus making them a very rich and porous humus topsoil.

Deforestation happens when trees are cut down on a wide scale. This will lead to widespread disruption of a forest ecosystem. When a forest is cleared, the humus rich topsoil is left exposed leading to a number of dire consequences. The rain that falls on the exposed soil converts that rich topsoil into a sealed-off soil that is moist and muddy. It causes the soil to be washed easily into waterways. What is left behind is poor subsoil that leaves the land vulnerable to more natural erosion. In other words, deforestation leads to massive soil and land erosion.

When deforestation happens in tropical rain forests the effects are more devastating. It is because humus topsoil in tropical rain forests is known to be very thin and lacking in nutrients, so when deforestation occurs, the topsoil that is left behind is very vulnerable and will tend to wash away and erode easily. After deforestation in tropical rain forests, the only thing left is very poor nutrient, hard, clay-like subsoil that is not rich enough to sustain most forms of agriculture.

Sediments that are washed away eventually enter our drains, streams and rivers. These eroding sediments are often responsible for clogging up water channel leading to the problem of flooding. Soil erosion upsets surrounding ecosystems and has been known to be responsible for killing off the fishes and flooding reservoirs.

However despite all the ill effects, deforestation still happens around the world at alarming rates, especially in developing countries. A survey carried out by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 33.8 million trees were cleared between 1990 and 1995 in developing countries. That area would be 3 times the size of France! Why? What is happening? It is because forests are ready source of timber and wealth and after the forests are cleared, there’s room for agriculture. Most of the agriculture is directed the to the planting of cash crops and grass and other crops to support greater beef promotion.

Global warming is a threat that will affect generations to come. The atmosphere surrounding us that supports life is a God-given gift. It must be protected. We should be leaders in efforts to curb global warming, not resistant followers.

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