Forests Extinction


Forests Extinction Essay, Research Paper

Can you picture our earth without forests? Many of us can?t. Forests cover

approximately one fifth of the worlds land surface and play an important role in

our everyday lives (Dudley 4). Forests provide us with many products and

services from helping maintain erosion to providing jobs for our citizens.

Humanity depends on the survival of a healthy ecosystem and deforestation is

causing many social, economic and ecological problems. One ecological problem is

Global warming witch is caused when carbon is released into the air after the

burning of forests. Governments and industries must become more aware of these

consequences of their activities and change accordingly. They need to cooperate

with forest management and work towards a future that benefits all. Humans need

to be educated about the current issues of the forests in order for us to save,

preserve or sustain these places that provide us with so much. Humans depend

tremendously on the world?s forests, but yet were the ones destroying them.

For humans, the forests have many aesthetic, recreational, economic, and

cultural values. Timber and other products of the forests are important

economically both locally and as exports. They provide employment for those who

harvest the wood or for those who make products from the living forest. Forests

also provide us with medical drugs, dyes and fabrics. There are many people who

are dependent on forestland for their livelihoods. One third of the world?s

people depend on wood for fuel as a significant energy source (Dudley). Not only

do the forests provide some people with homes, but also provides a popular

setting for ecotourism, which includes hiking, camping, bird watching and other

outdoor adventure or nature study activities. All these activities and products

the forests provide us are at great risk from deforestation. Not only do forests

provide us with all this but also protect soil from erosion and reduces the

risks of landslides and avalanches. Trees help sustain freshwater supplies

therefore are an important factor in the availability of one of life?s basic

needs. Forests affect the climate and are also a very important source of

oxygen. One major factor that the forests carry is that they are the home to

over one half of the world?s total species (Dudley). Currently we are

discovering 20 new species of insects and 15 species of plants each day (Dudley

13). ?Recent reports by the World Resources Institute have shown that more

than 80% of the plant?s natural forests have already been destroyed?

(Hatch). Yes humankind is the cause of deforestation, however us humans are also

capable of having a positive effect on this crisis. Tropical forests cover about

10 per cent of the world?s dry land surface, mostly located in South America

and Asia (Dudley 6). In the tropical forests of the world, deforestation is

occurring for agriculture and livestock pastures. The main cause is the unequal

distribution of land (Anderson). Temperate forests are found in land areas that

are warm enough and low enough to support trees but not so hot to be tropical.

They are found in North America, Europe and cooler parts of Australia (Dudley

4). The problems in temperate forests are not so much the decrease in overall

forest area, but the substantial change in the types of forests and their

ecological diversity and stability. Commercial forestry is the main cause of

deforestation in temperate forests. ?In very broad terms, the total area of

forest in Europe, the USSR and North America is likely to decrease only slightly

in the medium future, but the proportion of forest existing as plantation is

liable to rise sharply? (Dudley 66). This however is going to lead to an

increase in conflict between the recreational and conservation interests and

will also tend to make forestry a more capital-intensive operation, thus

providing fewer jobs. Since so many people are dependent on the world?s

forests, deforestation will have a social, economical and ecological effect on

the world. Most of these effects are negative ones. The loss of forestlands is

connected to desertification, which translates into there being fewer trees,

thus decreasing the future forest workers employment. Heavy rainfall and high

sunlight quickly damage the topsoil in tropical rainforest, causing them to

regenerate slower and also providing insufficient farming grounds. When forests

are replanted there will also be a loss in quality. Also the medical treatments,

cures and vaccines will never be discovered if there are no forests to discover

them in. There may be a loss of future markets for ecotourism. The value of a

forest is often higher when it is left standing than it could be worth when it

is harvested (Dudley). Deforestation can cause the climate to change which could

cause and increase in floods and droughts. Global warming is a big factor in the

destruction of trees. Forests store large amounts of carbon that are released

when trees are cut or burned. It is said that deforestation and the burning of

biomass will be responsible for fifteen percent of the greenhouse effect between

1990 and 2025 (FAO). Because of global warming ranges of tree species could

shift with respect to altitude and latitude (Humankind 2). Furthermore, the

stress of such environmental change may make some species more susceptible to

the effects if insects, pollution, disease and fire (FAO). Also, areas of trees

may be lost and genetic diversity may decrease. The clearing of forestland

results in increase of erosion and landslides. Landslide is a descent of a mass

of earth and rock down a mountain slope. Landslides may occur when water from

rain and melting snow sinks through the earth on top of a slope, seeps through

cracks and pore spaces in underlying sandstone, and encounters a layer of

slippery material, such as shale or clay, inclined toward the valley (Encarta).

Logging has directly and indirectly damaged spawning grounds, blocked river

channels, raised water temperatures and caused water levels in streams to

fluctuate dangerously. Therefore, the removal of tress can reduce the viability

of fist stocks in their watershed and down streams environments. People destroy

or degrade forests because, for them, the benefits seem to outweigh the costs.

Underlying causes include such issues as poverty, unequal land ownership,

women?s status, education and population. Immediate causes are often concerned

with a search for land and resources, including both commercial timber and fuel

wood (Dudley). The government and industry play a huge role in the destruction

or stability of forests. The government is the major aspect in controlling and

maintaining the forests. They have a huge say on what can and can?t be done.

For example on March 14th 1996 the senate voted 54-42 against repealing a

section of the 1995 rescissions law that allows the forest industry to salvage

burned and downed trees from national forests (Shuster 1). They can restrict

loggers by making laws but also are the link between compromising with the

environmentalists. High unemployment and job loss is usually blamed on the

restrictions set on foresters. However this is a myth. Most of this unemployment

is from worldwide economic change. The production of value-added forest products

would create more jobs and bring more wealth to these logging communities. The

whole goal of this would be to reduce the pressure on the forests. If commercial

forestry is to have a future, its methods need to become more ecologically sound

and sustainable. The technique of salvage logging, removing dead and diseased

trees from the forest, is good if the loggers don?t take advantage of it and

know what trees to go after. Another affective method logger?s use is known as

whole tree harvesting. This uses all of the wood from a tree. The branches and

the treetops are converted into wood chips. Whole tree logging provides more

jobs for the people and more products to be sold for the economy. The government

must play a greater role in forest management to protect the environment and

employment. The government should ensure that the interests of all stakeholders

and as well as the long-term effects associated with forest areas are taken into

account during forest planning. Governments should stop defending the forest

industry from criticism and end the practice of subsidization. Propaganda

originating from governments and corporations requires elimination if the public

is to be able to make the right choices. Probably only the action of concerned

citizens and consumers will compel government and industry to make changes in

the forests. Individuals can communicate their uncertainty about the future of

the world?s forests to politicians, corporate executives and non-governmental

organizations through personal communication in the form of letters, telephone

calls, faxes and e-mails. Deforestation is a serious problem, but humans can

make a difference. And individual as well as a business can practice green

consumerism. They can make an effort to purchase the most ecologically sensitive

products. Recycled paper is always available, which can reduce the demand for

timber. One of the most important ways a person to have a positive effect is to

reduce his or her consumption of forest and related products. An increase in the

participation of reducing, reusing and recycling is necessary. Education is one

of the most effective ways to promote change in our environment. Society should

educate people of today to change their ways and teach the younger generations

to have respect for nature. The young people in our society should also be

taught about the biological, social and economic values of forests.

Environmental conservation should be as important as math, physics, and history

in school. Workers should be taught to use technology to enhance forest

ecosystems instead of destroying them for reforestation. If humans would just

see themselves as a part of nature, they will respect it so much more and not

just exploit it for its resources. Humans bear the responsibility for

deforestation and the global ecological crisis. But humankind has the abilities

and potential to change its ways and prevent the destruction of our world?s

forests. If the forests are protected and regenerated they will benefit us all

in many ways. Trees will help benefit the land from erosion. Endangered species

will have better chances for survival. Human health will benefit from medicinal

compounds that are given a chance to be disvocered. Local economies will benefit

from ecotourism and consumers worldwide will gain satisfaction from knowing that

their wood products were harvested in a sustainable manner that left four out of

five trees standing (Greenpeace). In order for this to occur humans are going to

have to undergo some degree of ideological change. Humans are going to have to

live more sustainable lives and become closer with nature. Once the crisis of

deforestation has passed, humankind will enjoy a finer existence, and will look

forward to a bright future.

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