- Politics and Social Issues
The Forest is Our Life
We all love the forest, well most of us do and we should love the forest because it is what keeps us alive. It provides air, food, water, shelter, and keeps animals from roaming into our space. Forests are important to life on our planet. Over a billion people rely on the forests while three million people all around the world live in the forests. The habitats these forests provide include plants and animals which are important to all life on earth. Some of these plant and animal species have yet been discovered. The forest sheds our water, creates wonders, and provides natural recreation for us and animals. It is our number one survival tool because it provides oxygen, water, food, and much more. The trees and soil are vital to life on earth. Soil nutrients are absorbed through the tree roots and carried up to the trunk, branches, and then the leaves. When the ground collects the leaves and needles, they decompose and become organic matter in the soil.
What does organic matter do? Well it’s like a sponge. It absorbs water and releases it gradually, offering a reasonably steady quantity of water for plants and trees. When the plants and trees sponges the water it reduces flooding, muddy streams, and erosion, but it also helps the trees and plants live. A better way of saying that trees help our environment is by saying that trees are nature’s air filters. Trees give us carbon dioxide. They gather it through the air, sunlight, and water which helps them create their own food known as Photosynthesis which is a type of sugar also known as glucose. Plants are the reason why life outside of water became possible.
Are all parts of the dandelion edible?
Trees are symbols of the environment and are symbols used by environmental movements. The color green which is the color of the plant was adopted to be the color of the environmental movement. The stabilization of the climate is important and that is the job of the forests. Not only does a plant recycle water, but they also feed water to other living species such as animals and other plants. This is known as the economy of water. Forests provide the ideal habitat for life to thrive on land, water, and under the ground. Coniferous forests are conquered by trees that bear cones and like firs and pines; they can thrive as well in the northern latitude. This is where forests are usually found. Many temperate forests have both broad-leaf and coniferous trees which includes oaks and elms. During the fall, these trees can turn beautiful colors such as yellow, orange, and red. The forest contains most of the living species and most of them live in tropical forests. Forests are critical to mitigating climate change because they soak up carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses. Without its sponge work, carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses would flow freely into the atmosphere and cause continuous changes in the climates patterns. About 90% of the planets species live in the tropical rainforest and some of it is still uncharted. The highest levels of biodiversity can be found in the tropical rainforest. Forests provide us all with a vast amount of medicines. The majority of drugs we take every day to help us get over sicknesses are extracted from the tropical rainforest. Rainfall is abundant and the temperatures are always warm. Most of the cures we dream of having have not been discovered yet and will never be discovered or will be found and destroyed by deforestation and pollution.
The Dangers of Deforestation
Forests are being destroyed at alarming rates. Deforestation has been a major problem for centuries and is also a part of the population growth. Colonization is the oldest reason for the destruction of forests. Besides the colonization problem, there are other reasons and we all know those reasons. There are many forms of deforestation such as clear-cutting for agriculture, fires, ranching and development, degradation which is caused by climate change, and unsustainable logging for timber and other natural resources. Trees are cut for other reasons such as construction and lumber for heat. When it comes to agriculture and pasture, large areas of land are burnt which helps flatten the ground. Each time there is a large burning, large amounts of carbon dioxide is introduced into the air each time. Large industrial projects such as artificial water basins also have a negative impact on the forests. Due to human activity, the Amazon rainforest has lost about 17% of its forest covering in the last half century. The island of Sumatra in Indonesia has lost 85% of its forests due to pulp plantations and oil palm. Borneo is another island in Indonesia and has rarely been explored, but like Sumatra, the forest of Borneo is being demolished.
By destroying the forests, most of the biodiversity will die. In other places such as the tropical rainforest, this means that it would take 100 million years for the biodiversity to be recreated. Because some of these species are unique, they can quickly disappear following the destruction of the habitat they live in. Because of the clear-cutting of the forests, there are problems with the soil. When a forest is destroyed and no longer there, water cannot be absorbed. This means rainwater can create floods and provokes soil erosion. The nutrients and elements that help life thrive are then washed away. In tropical places, deforestation can lead to desertification meaning what was once tropical is now a desert. This means most of the life in that area is gone. Imagine a large island out in the tropics, that island is huge an all that’s on there is sand. Now imagine it having trees. With the trees and plants, the sand would not be covering the entire island and there would be animals as well.
Many of the world’s forest have been demolished. Around ninety some percent of the forests in the Philippines have been destroyed. Because Madagascar has lost 95% of its rainforest, the country is having problems supplying water, food, and sanitation for the growing population. The problems in Madagascar have also led to desertification, degradation of water, and soil loss. In 2008, the Brazilian government reported that a record rate of deforestation is taking place in the Amazon. The causes of deforestation within Brazil are beef ranches, crop farms, and other developments in agriculture. When it comes to Ethiopia, 98% of the forest disappeared within 50 years while 14% of the forest was destroyed between 1990 and 2003. Nigeria lost 70% of its forest between 1990 and 2005 due to subsistence agriculture, logging, and wood fuel. Nigeria’s old-growth forest no longer exists. Countries like Thailand, the Philippines, and India has deemed their deforestation a national emergency.
The Negative Impact of the Destruction of Forests
There are many negative effects that come with deforestation and I have talked about some of them.
The continuation of forest destruction causes dramatic decline in wood. Because of this, the impact not only hurts those who like to save the forest, but it also hurts those who destroy it for greed. Wood that satisfies human needs will decline. This includes industrial companies that log it. How can you log what does not exist? Not only that, but when all the wood is gone so is our air.
The Strength of Pollution
We run into pollution everywhere we go. Thanks to how humans are, pollution is everywhere. Imagine a world without trees. Trees manage organic carbon and because of this, forests possess the ability to eliminate harmful pollution from the air that we breathe. Without trees, pollution will be allowed to increase and can hurt anything that’s living including humans.
Environmental Changes that are Irreversible
Because of the destruction of the forests, many places in the world have witnessed extreme changes in the environment such as species disappearing and weather becoming deadlier than ever. Deforestation also causes animals to move into areas that are populated with humans. I don’t think a family would like to wake up in the morning to find a grizzly bear in their back yard with the family dog hanging out of its mouth. Not only are animals moving into human populated areas, but humans are moving into animal populated areas after deforestation. Everything in nature works as a team and it seems like human nature is separate. If one species disappears it will have a major negative impact on the environment.
Conditions of Living
When deforestation takes place, the overall quality of life goes downhill. This happened to the Maya civilization. When there was a drought, the Mayan civilization disappeared. Deforestation causes many problems that have negative impacts on living conditions.
In deserts, there is no water found in the soil. Well, deforestation can create desertification meaning that an area that once hosted a forest is now a desert due to deforestation. Like a desert, the soil of an area that has been deforested cannot hold water. It cannot even hold moister in the atmosphere.
Short term, the impact is not that bad, but long term it is devastating. Once the forest losses its resources it will lose anything that can make money. For example, it can lose its habitat that help produce wood, medicine, water, food, and beauty.
The Loss of Medicine
As you know, the forests especially the tropical rainforest has produced many medicines and cures and some have yet to be discovered. Deforestation threatens the medicine and cures needed to keep us healthy.
Natural Recycling of Water
The forest helps recycle water. Without precipitation, treats such as flash floods take place. Not only that, but without precipitation, anything alive in that area will not be able to live. Remember, water equals life.
Beauty of the Forest
Imagine being on vacation and hiking through the forest with your family, friends, or loved ones. Forests provide a natural and cultural resource that is fun to look at, explore, and bring peace to a person. It also is a major tourist attraction. Without the forest, we are not free to explore and even with tough regulations on tourism, it still is tough to be free to explore. It is important not to destroy the forest. The forest provides us with everything we need to survive.
Ways for Deforestation to be Prevented
There are many ways to prevent deforestation. Some ways are good for us and some ways are not good for us. The forest thou are more important than humans. We have ways to survive without damaging the environment, but in order to survive without hurting the environment; we must turn to our leaders. The sad thing is that we have turn to those who have the power to make changes, but they don’t care about the environment or they just don’t have common sense.
Recycling and Buy Recycled Products
By recycling, people can clean up the environment. Plastic, metals, foam, paper, etc. all mess up the environment. By recycling, not only are you keeping the environment trash free, but you are also saving money and creating and maintaining green jobs. This also includes going paperless. Also, maybe replacing paper money with thin, light, flexible plastic money would help the environment because it will help save trees and other resources used to create paper money. The plastic money also keeps from fading and lasts longer. I’m sure no one would want to throw their money in a land fill. This would be separate from credit and debit cards. Credit and debit cards are plastic, but the rules of these cards hurt people and become just another thing to worry about.
Plant a Tree or Tree Care
Planting more trees would help the deforestation problem and not only that, but when logging companies cut down a tree, they should plant a new one. Some logging companies have been planting new trees after cutting other trees, but it’s not good enough. More and more trees need to be planted every day and then taken care of. When cutting down a tree, it is best to single out full grown and younger trees. For every tree that is cut down, a new tree must be planted.
Coal is not good for our environment, but it does help us stay warm. Instead of firewood, use coal. It does not take long to use up a few logs in the fireplace, but it can take a hundred years or more to fully grow a tree. While coal is being used, there needs to be more effort in finding renewable fuel.
Farming can damage the soil. There are other routes to go by when farming. Hybrid crops and hydroponics is very helpful to farmers when protecting the environment. They are able to use mineral nutrient solutions in place of soil.
Using Less Palm Oil
Palm oil is used in products such as chocolates, breads, shampoos, and more. The trees that produce the palm oil are being destroyed in Indonesia and Malaysia. Because of the destruction of forests to extract palm oil, the native orangutans are losing their habitat. If we can limit our consumption for these products, it would help. We don’t need to wash our hair every day and in fact there are other products out there for hair that does not carry palm oil. Chocolate carries palm oil as an extra ingredient, but the palm oil in chocolate can be replaced and the same goes for bread.
Replanting or Reforestation
It would be great if we can plant more trees and reforest the forest. China has been taking a major lead in this. Since 1982, more than one billion trees have been planted in China as a result of a government program requiring anyone ages 11 to 60 the responsibility of planting three to five trees a years. A law like this is a positive law that should be in every country. Can the people afford it? Yes, seeds are not expensive, but a tree that is not fully grown costs more to buy then seeds. I believe that governments should pay back people who actually buys a young tree and plants it. Some young trees can be expensive and if someone buys a tree for $20.00 or more or a bunch of them then the person should be allowed to take it off their taxes. This is a win/win situation and helps the person, government, and environment.
By becoming an activist for reforestation, you will not be alone. There are many organizations and individuals out there who fight day after day to save the forests. You can support reforestation by donating money, helping groups or creating groups that replant trees, etc. Being an activist for nature is not just a volunteer job or paid job, it is your duty which helps preserve the planet and all living creatures including humans. If the planet is in bad shape then it will have a negative impact on all life including humans.
Supporting Conservation Organizations
By supporting these organizations with donations, your time, etc. you can make a positive difference. Reach out to organization such as Conservation International, Greenpeace, the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature, Community Forestry International, and Arbor Day Foundation’s Rain Forest Rescue.
The Wilderness is my Playground
The wilderness has always been my playground since childhood. When I was younger, I would go into the woods in my backyard where there is a deep creek with high walls. I named them the cliff walls of the creek. Below were rocks, water, wood, some trash, and a lot of mud. In fact, too much mud to the point where if you fell into it you would sink as if you were in quicksand. Sometimes I would stand on top of the cliff near a tree hanging over the creek. Near the tree was a strong but large vine that I would swing on over the cliff and back to where I was originally standing. I did this for years until around 2003 when the woods filled with more trash and pollution. The trees became weak and when I swung on that vine for the last time it broke, I went down onto the wall of the cliff hanging on a root. Of course this was not the first time I fell off or down this cliff, but this time I was falling from the air. Not too far from this location was another deep creek not as big, but it was nicer and the water was deeper. It was nicknames devils pit. The only ugly part of this creek was a small drain sticking out from the middle of the cliff. When the sun was out it illuminated the water within the creek creating so much light that it sort of blinded you. In the late 2000’s the creek was destroyed and flattened for apartments and condos. Most of the woods near where I live which had nice creeks, walking/bike paths, ramps, crayfish, and other animals were destroyed. Where I grew up, those running the city wanted to destroy wildlife to make money. The city was and still this day is run by corrupt officials. I love to hangout in the wilderness whether it rock climbing, hiking, camping, doing survival training, etc. I go out into the wilderness a lot and I feel that the forests, deserts, swamps, any type of natural habitat are a part of my life.
The forests and other natural habitats of this world need to be saved. Without them, all life including human life is in danger and we have bared witness to it. Forests may be human’s natural playground, but remember this; it’s the home to many species. How would you feel if someone took over your home? It would not feel good. The animals of the forests and other natural habitats are in danger because of humans. Their habitat is a part of them as ours is a part of us. By taking positive care of these natural habitats without taking freedoms away from enjoying these natural playgrounds will bring positive benefits to all of life.
One with Nature
Being one with nature is important. It helps with spirituality, connections, living the old ways of life, and more importantly, being who you are. Its also good for training. Yes we have gyms we can go to, but the environment is the original gym. It is a gym that provides everything we need. If you look back at history, you can tell that most people were in good shape and ate healthier. They relied on the wilderness for food, work, and exercise. Its better to run on a trail in the woods then running in a continues circle or on a straight path like a zombie. On the trail you get the fresh air and you get to see the trees and other aspects of nature.
Nature does not just surround us all, it is within us. It is in our hearts. Inner peace can bring us closer to nature.
- The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet:
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Has the destruction of forests and other natural habitats hurt you some how?
CNN Explains: Deforestation
© 2015 Joe Howard