Consequences Of Deforestation For Earth And Inhabitants Biology Essay


Deforestation has always been a resourceful means of keeping the economy moving to many in different parts of the world. However, over time it has been proven that deforestation has been responsible for the destruction of many societies and wildlife that have existed in past centuries. If Deforestation persists, today's global society and wildlife will suffer the same fate as societies and wildlife back in the early centuries. Listed are the causes for deforestation, the consequences of deforestation, and the arguments for people who support deforestation, and the benefits of forests.

The causes of deforestation are regarded by many industrialists as being justifiable. Industrialization has been defined as a means to accommodate society, in regards to population growth. Since the mid-nineteenth century worldwide deforestation has sharply accelerated, approximately one half of the Earth's mature tropical forests have now been cleared. To provide for constant population growth, governments have authorized urbanization as a means to justify deforestation due to the growth in population. Industrial globalization is responsible for the creation of cities, roads, or highways, healthcare facilities, businesses, dams, power lines, mines, gas and oil fields, canals, ports, and logging zones. Agricultural expansion has been known worldwide as one of the many causes of deforestation and as another means to sustain population growth. Subsistence agriculture in poor countries is responsible for 48% of deforestation; with commercial agriculture is responsible for 32% of deforestation; and commercial logging is responsible for only 14% of deforestation; charcoal and other fuel wood removals comprise less than 6% of deforestation, but those uses can generally be assigned to subsistence practices. Agriculture has been known to provide access to many natural resources to sustain societies. During prehistoric deforestation, tens of thousands of years before the present around the Mesolithic period, burning down forests were a method for clearing land for crop growth, as well as, converting more deforested lands into ecosystems to hunt animals, such as red deer and wild boar. During the Neolithic period, around 3000 B.C., extensive deforestation for agriculture was used to create stone axes from flint and an array of hard rocks. Flint was utilized for harvesting timber and the mines in Europe. Today many resources gained from deforestation are lumber-teak, rosewood, mahogany, (which produce glue, paper, furniture, charcoal, fuel woods, and houses), iron ore, minerals, oil deposits, palm oil (which is used in food, cooking oil, soaps, detergents, cosmetics, and plastics), soybeans, and sugar. Beef production causes deforestation to raise cattle to meet fast food restaurant demands. Palm oil and sugar are also being converted into bio-fuels as an alternative to gasoline.

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Many industrialist, governments, and individuals do not realize are the implications, or consequences of deforestation. Deforestation can cause numerous ecosystems, as well as, environmental issues that can be detrimental to wildlife and humans. A new study showed that deforestation in the Amazon helps spread disease by creating an optimal environment for malaria carrying Mosquitoes. Studies showed that clearing forests in the Brazilian Amazon raised the malaria spread by 50 percent. In another recent study it was discovered that only two kinds of species of stingless bees have the ability to survive deforestation. However, the rest would become extinct if they were made to adapt to deforestation. Ring-tailed Lemurs are monkeys that live in Madagascar. Due to Madagascar's growing population deforestation persists in this land causing destruction to the Lemur's habitat. In recent studies it has been shown that deforestation has caused about 12.5% of the world's plant species to become critically rare. New species of animals and plants are still being discovered to this day. In Papua New Guinea, 44 new species of animals were recently discovered in the forests. In East Java, deforestation threatens numerous rare animals, such as the Javan hawk eagle, silvery gibbon, Javan Langur, Sunda slow loris, Javan surili, Javan rhinoceros, and other rare species. Consider these facts; a single pond in Brazil can sustain a greater variety of fish than is found in all of Europe's rivers. A 25-acre plot of rainforest in Borneo may contain more than 700 species of trees - a number equal to the total tree diversity of North America. A single rainforest reserve in Peru is home to more species of birds than are found in the entire United States. One single tree in Peru was found to harbor forty-three different species of ants - a total that approximates the entire number of ant species in the British Isles. The number of species of fish in the Amazon exceeds the number found in the entire Atlantic Ocean. The importance of biodiversity in the forests appears to be meaningless to most. However, recent studies have shown that life in the forests keep, both our environment and ecosystem balanced. Annihilation or extinction of any species of life as a result of deforestation could have a dangerous impact on humanity if the loss of biodiversity persists. Degraded soil is another consequence of deforestation. When soil becomes degraded as a result of deforestation, this makes farming and cattle ranching unsustainable. Climate change is another result of deforestation. For example, in Tanzania, South Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, ice cap may disappear in the year 2033. Many scientists believe the forest is the key element to this possibility, because over the past 30 to 40 years forests on Mount Kilimanjaro have disappeared on the lower slopes, cut down by villagers for charcoal and open farmland, causing a rise in temperature on the mountain. Climate change relates to the carbon sink reductions engendered by deforestation, which long term effects have contributed to the buildup of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The natural habitats of many species are affected by the results of deforestation as stated earlier with the spread of malaria. A definition of habitat is the geographical unit that effectively supports the survival and reproduction of a given species or of individuals of a given species. As a result of deforestation, other wildlife species are forced to adapt to new habitats once theirs is lost, which could be dangerous to mankind if the new habitats of hostile wildlife (panthers, snakes, Malaria carrying mosquitoes) were within a town, or city. This consequence to plant and wildlife species can also result into Habitat fragmentation, which is defined as an alteration of habitat resulting in a spatial separation of habitat units from a previous state of greater continuity, is caused by agricultural land conversion, urbanization, pollution, and deforestation. Species richness, in turn can be affected by habitat fragmentation, which would cause the number of species that are balanced in an ecosystem to become uneven in number, extinct, or brought into conflict between other species in order for survival, food, or dominance of a habitat. Increased carbon dioxide will result if deforestation continually persists. Since mankind needs trees to feed humanity oxygen, after they are totally eliminated off the face of the Earth, mankind would surely become extinct, as a result of carbon dioxide poisoning. Surface runoffs can result after deforestation. Surface runoffs is when the soil is infiltrated to full capacity and excess water, from rain, snowmelt, or other sources flow over lands. The numerous trees that make up forests feed off the water that enters the soil. If the tree are removed all the excess water, which can be consumed by trees will flood over the land, in turn harming both plant life and wildlife species alike, as well as spread disease, such as malaria. There are numerous natural causes of deforestation that are unavoidable, such as catastrophic forest fires, volcanic eruptions, stand wind throw from hurricanes, drought, changes in local climate, or rainfall regimes, and insect spread prevention. These natural factors however, represent only a small fraction of observed deforestation worldwide.

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Many supporters of deforestation argue that deforestation feeds our economy, and is being used as a means to mitigate unemployment, or recessions. Today societies benefit from deforestation as a means to support themselves, and/or their families. Employment usually revolves around the use of lumber. Wood cutters, those who work in the processing plants to make glue from wood sap, process pulp into paper, farmers, construction workers, architects, and people who are employed by the government to seed an open patch of land to re-grow a forest. The Lumber products are a resource necessary for building homes, boats, railroads, furniture, glue, paper, telephone poles, bridges, dams, and fires during the winter. A few supporters believe that deforestation is the solution to prevent global warming. For example, one source who supports deforestation claims that cutting down trees will help lower temperatures. Research from Professor Govindasamy Bala, of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, in California states that removing all of the world's trees might actually cool the planet down. Conversely, adding trees everywhere might warm it up. This theory was discovered when Dr. Bala and his colleagues used a computer model called the Integrated Climate and Carbon Model to calculate the representation of how the carbon cycle (photosynthesis and its consequences) works, and how it influences the climate. When Dr. Bala ordered global clear cutting from the model calculated that the atmosphere's carbon-dioxide levels would roughly double by 2100. This would paradoxically, make for a colder planet. That is because brighter high latitudes would reflect more sunlight in winter, cooling the local environment by as much as 6°C. The tropics would warm up, since they would be less cloudy, but not by enough to produce a net global heat gain. Overall, Dr Bala's model suggests that complete deforestation would cause an additional 1.3°C temperature rise because of the higher carbon-dioxide levels that would result. However, the additional reflectivity of the planet would cause 1.6°C of cooling. A treeless world would thus, as he reports in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, be 0.3°C cooler than otherwise. Another claim that supports deforestation is to prevent the spread of pine beetles. Although, this is a more justifiable means of deforestation as a means to prevent the elimination of other trees from these types of beetles, which are usually found in Montana, which burrow into lodge pole, ponderosa and other pine species and lay eggs in the soft layer just under the bark. When the larvae hatch, they eat the layer and essentially cut off the tree's circulatory system, killing it. Red-and-dead trees can pose safety hazards if they burn or topple. Of more concern are the still-green-but-dying "brood" trees that contain thousands of beetle larvae. The city crews try to cut down and remove as many of those trees as possible during the winter to preserve other stands for the summer. Many droughts cause farmers to cut down their orchards before the trees die, to protect other trees and crops from getting bugs and diseases. Supporter of deforestation believe that numerous rainforest activists are exaggerating their resources of deforestation out of possible fear of losing government funding. For example, research conducted by NASA, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Maryland claim the actual rate of deforestation is about one-fifth of the 42 million acres per year brought up many activists condemning deforestation. Another example is that many opponents of deforestation claim that slash and burn of lands for agricultural purposes is done more than logging in rainforests. Research from the organization Greenpeace calculated that forestry was responsible for 2 percent of the forest depletion in Brazil, 9 percent in Indonesia, zero in Cameroon and 6 percent in all other major tropical countries. Another study showed that industries are responsible for many of the programs aimed at improved forest management selectively harvesting trees, industries planting many more trees, training forest managers, employ tens of millions of workers (who might otherwise be clearing forests for farms) throughout the developing world, and provides education and other benefits for workers and for local communities. Contrary to what some of the activist groups would have people believe? If consumers boycott these products, there would be a serious reduction in wood use, the incentive to provide these benefits would disappear in the dust of poor people clearing forests. Finally supporters believe forests provide a wide array of goods and services In economics, economic output is divided into physical goods and intangible services. Consumption of goods and services is assumed to produce utility (unless the "good" is a "bad"). It is often used when referring to a Goods and Services Tax. , including wood and wood products, home and shelter for many species, and oxygen production and carbon dioxide carbon dioxide, chemical compound, CO2, a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is about one and one-half times as dense as air under ordinary conditions of temperature and pressure.  absorption. Supporters believe that our planet needs the forests, and that our children need the forests, and the wood and wood products industries need, will allow them to grow healthy forests for the succession of industries. Industries have a vested interest Vested Interest

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The benefits of forests are countless. For starters forests are the primary reason why life on Earth is still living. Without the trees in the forests that exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen on a daily basis, all life on Earth would die. Forests are also the homes to numerous food sources that sustain the survival of mankind. Some food sources are fruit, such as avocados, coconuts, figs, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, bananas, guavas, pineapples, mangos and tomatoes; vegetables including corn, potatoes, rice, winter squash and yams; spices like black pepper, cayenne, chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, sugar cane, turmeric, coffee and vanilla and nuts including Brazil nuts and cashews. Currently, 121 prescription drugs currently sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources. And while 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients, less than 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists. Rainforest plants are rich in secondary metabolites, particularly alkaloids. Biochemists believe alkaloids protect plants from disease and insect attacks. Many alkaloids from higher plants have proven to be of medicinal value and benefit. The U.S. National Cancer Institute has identified 3000 plants that are active against cancer cells. 70% of these plants are found in the rainforest. Twenty-five percent of the active ingredients in today's cancer-fighting drugs come from organisms found only in the rainforest. Vincristine, extracted from the rainforest plant, periwinkle, is one of the world's most powerful anticancer drugs. It has dramatically increased the survival rate for acute childhood leukemia since its discovery. In 1983, there were no U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturers involved in research programs to discover new drugs or cures from plants. Today, over 100 pharmaceutical companies and several branches of the US government, including giants like Merck and The National Cancer Institute, are engaged in plant research projects for possible drugs and cures for viruses, infections, cancer, and even AIDS. The Amazon rainforest contains the largest collection of living plant and animal species in the world. The diversity of plant species in the Amazon rainforest is the highest on Earth. It is estimated that a single hectare (2.47 acres) of Amazon rainforest contains about 900 tons of living plants, including more than 750 types of trees and 1500 other plants. The Andean mountain range and the Amazon jungle are home to more than half of the world's species of flora and fauna; in fact, one in five of all the birds in the world live in the rainforests of the Amazon. To date, some 438,000 species of plants of economic and social interest have been registered in the region, and many more have yet to be catalogued or even discovered. The forests are also homes to many indigenous people. Indigenous people have developed technologies and resource use systems that have allowed them to live on the land, farming, hunting, and gathering in a complex sustainable relationship with the forest. In 1500 there were an estimated 6 million to 9 million indigenous people inhabiting the rainforests in Brazil. When Western and European cultures were drawn to Brazil's Amazon in the hopes of finding riches beyond comprehension and artifacts from civilizations that have long since expired with the passage of time, they left behind decimated cultures in their ravenous wake. By 1900 there were only 1 million indigenous people left in Brazil's Amazon. Today there are fewer than 250,000 indigenous people of Brazil surviving this catastrophe, and still the destruction continues. These surviving indigenous people still demonstrate the remarkable diversity of the rainforest because they comprise 215 ethnic groups with 170 different languages. Nationwide, they live in 526 territories, which together compose an area of 190 million acres, twice the size of California. About 188 million acres of this land is inside the Brazilian Amazon, in the states of Acre, Amapa, Amazonas, Maranhao, Mato Grosso, Para, Rondonia, Roraima, and Tocantins. There may also be 50 or more indigenous groups still living in the depths of the rainforest that have never had contact with the outside world. Throughout the rainforest, forest-dwelling peoples whose age-old traditions allow them to live in and off the forest without destroying it are losing out to cattle ranching, logging, hydroelectric projects, large-scale farms, mining, and colonization schemes. About half of the original Amazonian tribes have already been completely destroyed. Very few tribes have been subjected to a complete ethno botanical analysis of their plant knowledge, and most medicine men and shamans remaining in the rainforests today are seventy years old or more. When a medicine man dies without passing his arts on to the next generation, the tribe and the world lose thousands of years of irreplaceable knowledge about medicinal plants. Each time a rainforest medicine man dies, it is as if a library has burned down.

Today it is hard to prioritize one of the main sources of the world's survival compared to all of mankind's daily needs and wants. However, if the consequences of deforestation continue to persist, then all the benefits the forests provide will no longer be able sustain life both for mankind and biodiversity. Many societies from the past have been through these consequences; let's prevent the same mistakes from the past for not just the sake of the present, but for the sake of the future generations of societies and biodiversity.