Imagine a world without trees. Without trees, we won’t have clean air to breathe. Without forests, greater parts of the top soil will erode each year, landslides will occur frequently, and floods will rise even when the amount of rainfall is low. This is what has been happening for years.

Trees have been cut down by humans since ancient times to build houses, furniture, wagons, and weapons. Trees are essential for humans to survive. The wood from trees are used for shelter, as fuel, and to provide nourishment.

But, the forests back then were not as depleted as they are now.  Why are our forests without enough trees? How did that happen? Why does deforestation happen? Here are three major factors that led to the reduction of trees growing in our forests.

Deforestation Why Does Deforestation Happen?

Population Growth

Our forests have been indiscriminately cut down to serve a rising human population. There is increasing demand for more land space to build houses, commercial centers, and manufacturing plants. Not only that, trees are still being used by other countries and paper products are still being used. This demand for more products increased the demand for trees, which led logging companies scrambling to satisfy the market.

The threat of deforestation is essentially brought about by the following factors:

  • conversion of forests and woodlands to agricultural land to feed growing numbers of people;
  • development of cash crops and cattle ranching, both of which earn money for tropical countries;
  • commercial logging (which supplies the world market with woods such as meranti, teak, mahogany and ebony) destroys trees as well as opening up forests for agriculture;
  • felling of trees for firewood and building material; the heavy lopping of foliage for fodder; and heavy browsing of saplings by domestic animals like goats.

Corporate Negligence

Even if the logging companies cut hundreds of wood every hour and clear land every day, the deforestation wouldn’t still have happened if they had planted new trees to the ones they had chopped down. Unfortunately, in the 80s when the logging industry was booming, there were sparse efforts from the government and private sector to preserve the forests.

After realizing the errors of their ways, the logging companies have given time and money into rebuilding the forests for future generations. Reforestation efforts like this have saved many denuded areas. The growth of tree saplings may be slow and it would be another hundred years or so before we can see large sturdy forest trees standing once again. But at least what has been taken is now replaced.

Human Error

There are times, however, that deforestation happens as an accident. Natural calamities such as volcanic eruptions can wipe out acres of forestation in hours. There are instances, however, that human error, and not natural events, can cause deforestation. For example, a glowing ember from a discarded cigarette butt can start forest fires and wipe out trees and animals in a few hours.

Good news!

There is still hope, though. Through the efforts of many environmentalists, reforestation and conservation efforts have brought back our forests. Aside from that, the digitalization of sharing and storing information has reduced the need to use paper.

Categories: General

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