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Deforestation And Climate Change

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Published: Wed, 03 May 2017

According to the Oxford dictionary, deforestation means cutting down trees over large area (Oxford Dictionary, 2011, p.1). The history of deforestation which is cutting down the trees has occurred some over 4000 years ago as according to Adam, D. (2009). Deforestation is clearing the Earth’s forests on a massive scale, often resulting in damage to the quality of the land and causing climate change. Forests still cover about 30 percent of the world’s land area, but swaths the sizes of Panama are lost each and every year. In this day and age, the earth is facing problems because valuable trees are being cut without limitation and damaging the quality of the land. This is because trees have many uses for human beings and also for the world. A biodiversity specialist named Dr. Md. Mizanur Rahman says, “climate and forest are interlinked”. The increased destruction of the rainforest which form a precious cooling band around the Earth’s equator is recognized as one of the main causes of climate change. Forests trap and store carbon dioxide and play a major role in mitigating climate change. On the other hand, forests become the sources of the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide when destroyed or over-harvested and burned. Deforestation brings about climate changes such as the internal heating of earth, change of weather pattern and excess of rainfall.

First and foremost, deforestation will change the climate because it can lead to internal heating of earth. The earth is warm due to inconsistent and unpredictable temperature. A lot of heat energy is stored in the atmosphere which eventually comes out from the Sun. This will then regulate the earth’s climate. Furthermore, the atmosphere is composed of small particles and several gases such as oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. BBC News(2012) mention that some of the gases such as carbon dioxide vapour, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are known to trap heat in the atmosphere. Thus, the net energy will increase and this contributes to Earth warming. The later forms of gases are referred to as “greenhouse gases (GHG)”. The Earth’s climate is also affected by the particles in the atmosphere which tend to block sunlight from reaching to the Earth. The accumulation of these gases is believed to have altered the earth’s radioactive balance, meaning more of the sun’s heat is absorbed and trapped inside the earth’s atmosphere. According to Rainforest Conservation Fund (2012) the changes during deforestation happen when the movement of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere from vegetation which is then burned to make agricultural fields. Then, the decaying process takes place which release carbon after logging. Carbon is loss when wood products are removed from forest. On the other hand, when the forest regrows carbon is returned to terrestrial systems by incorporation of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into new plant material. This shows how deforestation leads to greater accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. If the level of carbon dioxide increases the process of photosynthesis will be reduced. So, plants will not be able to carry out their photosynthesis and this eventually leads to deforestation. According to University of Michigan (2010) The USA has already experienced its wave of deforestation, with the exception of small areas in the west and Alaska. As uncontrolled deforestation carries on carbon is released as carbon dioxide and traps heat in atmosphere. This will then cause global warming. Thus, it can be concluded that deforestation can change in the climate due to internal heating of earth.

Moreover, deforestation can lead to change of weather patterns. Global Change reports and Assessments (2000) states that about 30-40% of ultraviolet (UV) energy from the Sun is believed to be reflected back into space after hitting Earth’s upper atmosphere, while remaining 60-70% gets through to Earth. For instance, deforestation around Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro have large impact on the mountain’s local weather and climate as global climate change, according to researches from University of Alabama, Huntsville (1995). Deforestation affects the peak of the mountain, where gradually disappearing glaciers reside, because there is no rain or snow. The region has experienced significant ecological changes, including less rainfall. The reduction of cloud cover and the subsequent disappearance of several species of amphibians and birds are the effects of deforestation. Changes in global air temperature will be the effect of weather pattern. There is more heat rather than water vapour in the atmosphere. Therefore, the land become drier and contributes to drought periods. Droughts will unable the plants in the forest to do their photosynthesis correctly. This clearly shows that change of weather pattern due to deforestation.

Last but not least, deforestation will change the climate because it can cause excess of rainfall. According to EO, earth. (2010) increase in rainfall distribution will leads to flood, and soil erosion. The forest act as a carbon ‘sink’ by converting carbon dioxide into physical mass and releasing oxygen. A recent study shows that up to thirty percent of the rain that falls in tropical forests is water that the rainforest has recycled into the atmosphere. Water evaporates from the soil and vegetation, condenses into clouds, and falls again as rain in a perpetual self-watering cycle. In addition to maintaining tropical rainfall, the evaporation cools the Earth’s surface. In many computer models of future climate, replacing tropical forests with a landscape of pasture and crops creates a drier, hotter climate in the tropics. Some models also predict that tropical deforestation will disrupt rainfall pattern far outside the tropics, including China, northern Mexico, and the south-central United States. Most of these climate predictions of decreased rainfall are based on a uniform and virtually complete replacement of tropical forests with pasture and cropland. However, deforestation often precedes in a patchwork fashion clearings that branch off roads in a fishbone pattern. For example, a deforested island within a sea of forest. On these local scales, deforestation may actually increase rainfall by creating “heat islands” that enhance the rising and overturning of air (convection) that leads to clouds and rain. On this basis it may be inferred that deforestation will change of excess of rainfall.

Deforestation brings about climate changes such as the internal heating of earth, change of weather pattern and excess of rainfall. Deforestation is continuing at an alarming rate and it is an unavoidable environmental issue that requires immediate action. It is the practice of chopping down tress to such an extent that the global climate is slowly undergoing changes. Goodall, J. (2010) states that forests are important as a crucial part of life on earth and to contribute to the basic human needs. Once distributed over half the planet, forests now cover only a quarter of its land surface and forest loss, particularly in the tropics, is continuing at an alarming rate. Figures released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in 2005 indicate that the rate of natural tropical forest loss is about 13 million hectares each year is equivalent to 36 football fields a minute. Beyond the tropics, there has been a significant loss of old-growth forests and the replacement of natural forests and woodlands with single-species plantations that provide few of the environmental, ecological and social benefits of native forests.


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