Deforestation is one of the most significant issues of our time.Deforestation is the purposeful clearing of forested land. Throughout history and into modern times, forests have been razed to make space for agriculture and animal grazing, and to obtain wood for fuel, manufacturing, and construction.According to the UN, an estimated 420 million hectares (one billion acres) of forest have been lost through conversion to other land uses since 1990 – that is an area roughly equivalent to the size of Libya.UN data suggests the rate of deforestation between 2015 and 2020 was an estimated 10 million hectares per year, down from 16 million hectares per year in the 1990s.Greatly accelerated by human activities since 1960, deforestation has been negatively affecting natural ecosystems, biodiversity, and the climate. 

Multiple factors, either of human or natural origin, cause deforestation. Natural factors include natural forest fires or parasite-caused diseases which can result in deforestation. Nevertheless, human activities are among the main causes of global deforestation. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the expansion of agriculture caused nearly 80% of global deforestation, with the construction of infrastructures such as roads or dams, together with mining activities and urbanization, making up the remaining causes of deforestation.

According to the FAO, agriculture causes around 80% of deforestation.More specifically, 10% of deforestation can be attributed to new infrastructures that serve the current human lifestyle in four main ways: transportation, transformation and energy generation.The populational shift that is leading people to move from rural areas to urban areas is also contributing to deforestation (5%, according to FAO).The World Bank estimates that about 3.9 million square miles (10 million square km) of forest have been lost since the beginning of the 20th century. 

There are many impacts of deforestation. Deforestation has many consequences for natural ecosystems and it poses serious problems to the resilience of the planet.The most known consequence of deforestation is its threat to biodiversity. In fact, forests represent some of the most veritable hubs of biodiversity. From mammals to birds, insects, amphibians or plants, the forest is home to many rare and fragile species. 

80% of the Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests. 

By destroying the forests, human activities are putting entire ecosystems in danger, creating natural imbalances, and putting Life at threat. The natural world is complex, interconnected, and made of thousands of inter-dependencies and among other functions, trees provide shade and colder temperatures for animals and smaller trees or vegetation which may not survive with the heat of direct sunlight. Besides, trees also feeding animals with their fruits while providing them with food and shelter they need to survive. 

Deforestation weakens and degrades the soil. Forested soils are usually not only richer on organic matter, but also more resistant to erosion, bad weather, and extreme weather events.

Deforestation also has a very strong contribution to climate change. Why? Let’s remember trees absorb and store CO2 throughout their lives. If we speak about tropical forests, they hold more than 210 gigatons of carbon, according to WWF. And what’s worrying is that the destruction of these trees has two big negative side-effects. 

Unconventional production practices that illegally take down trees and use dangerous chemicals threaten forests and wildlife. In this way, exploiting crops such as palm oil, wood, coffee or avocados has side effects that affect the environment and the surrounding ecosystems. It’s estimated that the Earth’s biodiversity is going extinct 0,1%, or aprox. 200 species per day, every year. 

Forests are carbon sinks and, therefore, help to mitigate the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Tropical forests alone hold more than 228 to 247 gigatons of carbon, which is more than seven times the amount emitted each year by human activities. But when forests are cut, burned or otherwise removed they emit carbon instead of absorb carbon. Deforestation and forest degradation are responsible for around 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions. 

Trees play a key role in the local water cycle by helping to keep a balance between the water on land and water in the atmosphere. But when deforestation or degradation occurs, that balance can be thrown off, resulting in changes in precipitation and river flow. 

There are many ways to combat this matter. 

1. Government Regulations

The best solution to deforestation is to curb the felling of trees by enforcing a series of rules and laws to govern it. Deforestation in the current scenario may have reduced; however, it would be too early to assume. 

The money-churner nature of forest resources can be tempting enough for deforestation to continue. 

2. Banning Clear-Cutting of Forests 

This will curb the total depletion of the forest cover. It is a practical solution and is very feasible. 

3. Reforestation and Afforestation 

Land skinned of its tree cover for urban settlements should be urged to plant trees in the vicinity and replace the cut trees. Also, the cutting must be replaced by planting young trees to replace the older ones that were cut. 

Trees are being planted under several initiatives every year, but they still don’t match the numbers of the ones we’ve already lost. 

4. Reduce Consumption of Paper

Your daily consumption of paper includes printing paper, notebooks, napkins, toilet paper, etc. Try to reduce consumption, reduce waste of paper and also opt for recycled paper products. 

Make life simple such as printing/writing on both sides of the paper, using less toilet paper, avoiding paper plates, and napkins and wherever possible, go paperless. 

5. Educate Others 

Still, many are entirely unaware of the global warming problem we’re facing. Educate your friends, family, and community by sharing the deforestation facts, and its causes and effects. You can make an impact! 

6. Eat Less Meat 

Livestock rearing has become one of the leading causes of deforestation. Try to eat less meat. It may be hard for some people to try. However, eating less meat, even just for one meal a day, will also make an extreme impact on the environment. 

7. Purchase from Sustainable, Forest-Friendly Companies.Try to purchase from companies that are committed to reducing deforestation.

8. Reduce Consumption of Deforestation Prone Products-Palm oil is a common ingredient in absolutely everything we see around us. Make it a simple habit to get a quick peek at the ingredients. Soybeans are another deforestation hotspot. 

9.The National Mission for a Green India for enhancing quality of forest cover and improving ecosystem services from 4.9 million hectares (MHA) of predominantly forest lands, including 1.5 MHA of moderately dense forest cover, 3 MHA of open forest cover, 0.4 MHA of degraded grasslands. 

10. Eco-restoration/afforestation to increase forest cover and ecosystem services from 1.8 m ha forest/non-forest lands, including scrublands, shifting cultivation areas, abandoned mining areas, ravine lands, mangroves, and sea-buckthorn areas. 

11. Enhancing tree cover in 0.2 MHA Urban and Peri-Urban areas (including institutional lands) 

Undoubtedly, trees inevitably hold a significant part to slow the progression of global warming. If the mass destruction and deforestation continue, it will harm the planet by sacrificing the long term benefits of trees for short term gains. If we want to stop deforestation on a large scale, we need governments across the globe to be a part of it. We need to crack down on corruption and ensure the enforcement of forest conservation policies based on the latest sciences. There is a need for global commitment to reduce greenhouse emission and innovative proposals with international funding to save tropical forests. All these efforts

together will provide an efficient incentive to improve forest protection programs continuously.

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