The primary consequence of deforestation is a lack of diversity. By removing a habitat, life is also removed and may result in an extinction event. Most species that call a forest their home are specialized to that habitat and cannot survive once clear-cutting or over-logging occurs. More than 70% of known species calls the forest their home.
What are the consequences of deforestation? Here are some additional key points to consider.
1. It increases greenhouse gas emissions.
Trees are able to absorb carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas that is believed to contribute to a global warming affect. If a tree is cut down, carbon dioxide is added to the environment in two ways. Felling the tree adds carbon dioxide and then the lack of the tree creates an ongoing absorption deficit.
2. It disrupts the water cycle.
Trees help to give the ground stability with their root systems. They can help to filter water supplies and establish a meaningful groundwater table. Without trees, the local water cycle is disrupted because there is less overall control. This results in an increased risk of soil erosion, added contaminants to the groundwater table, and even less available water to use.
3. It changes the natural beauty of a region.
Clearcutting does create usable land, but it also alters the visual appearance of the land. A forest is lush and beautiful. Clearcut lands are stark and not useable until the entire area has been completely processed.
4. It creates temperature swings.
The canopy of a forest helps to block sunlight from overheating the ground below. It also acts as a temperature shield, maintain a warmer temperature than outside of the forest. When this processed is disrupted, it creates large temperature swings that can further damage local plant and animal life in the region.
5. It reduces water vapor availability.
Trees also add water vapor back into the environment through their activities. Without this water vapor, the natural atmospheric cycles can be disrupted. This is why lands that were once lush forests become stark deserts over time. There just isn’t any water availability remaining once the trees are gone.
Deforestation is a completely preventable issue that has many negative effects. Carefully managing forest resources instead of clear-cutting can help us maintain our needs without overly disrupting our planet as we are currently doing.