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How Do We Define Afforestation And Deforestation Environmental Sciences Essay

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The effects of an increasing population, growing pollution and the consequent decrease in forest area on the environment are well known.

Afforestation is the answer to some extent, but needs to be carried out in a structured way with thorough knowledge of local environment, vegetation, soil type and socio-economic issues; not knowing or ignoring local conditions can prove extremely dangerous to the ecosystem.
Since the founding of the crown colony in the 19th century, afforestation has taken place to prevent soil erosion in the catchment areas of the reservoirs that were built. During the Japanese occupation in the Second World War, the countryside was deforested as the remaining population required fuel to survive. Most of the trees were cut down and extensive reafforestation was carried out after the war.

A sustainable and well-planned afforestation project helps improve soil conservation, catchment management and water quality. Such a project can also act as a wind barricade, as in the case of the The Great Green Wall Project in China.

In Adelaide, South Australia (a city of 1.3 million),[when?] Premier Mike Rann (2002 to 2011) launched an urban forest initiative in 2003 to plant 3 million native trees and shrubs by 2014 on 300 project sites across the metro area. The projects range from large habitat restoration projects to local biodiversity projects. Thousands of Adelaide citizens have participated in community planting days. Sites include parks, reserves, transport corridors, schools, water courses and coastline. Only trees native to the local area are planted to ensure genetic integrity. Premier Rann said the project aimed to beautify and cool the city and make it more liveable; improve air and water quality and reduce Adelaide's greenhouse gas emissions by 600,000 tonnes of C02 a year. He said it was also about creating and conserving habitat for wildlife and preventing species loss.

A very ambitious afforestation project that has spanned 70 years and 4,480km, it involves the building of a tree wall skirting the Gobi Desert. The tree wall is being built with the sole aim of fighting and acting as a barricade to ferocious sandstorms originating from the desert.
Under this scheme, newly planted forests are carefully supervised to protect against forest fires. Research is also being carried out to ascertain the type of trees that grow best in different regions and type of soil.

Afforestation projects undertaken without a complete understanding of the surroundings can cause additional environmental damages. For instance , fast-growing trees commonly used in timber plantations consume huge amounts of water, hence depleting water resources around the area.

India has witnessed a minor increase in the percentage of the land area under forest cover from 1950 to 2006. In 1950 around 40.48 million hectares was covered by forest. In 1980 it increased to 67.47 million hectares and in 2006 it was found to be 69 million hectares. 23% of India is covered by forest. The forests of India are grouped into 5 major categories and 16 types based on biophysical criteria. 38% of forest is categorised as subtropical dry deciduous and 30% as tropical moist deciduous plus other smaller groups. It is taken care that only local species are planted in an area. Trees bearing fruits are preferred wherever possible due to their function as a food source.

There are also concerns about irreversible changes in the soil caused by exotic species. For example, pine trees are known to turn the soil acidic. The water from the soil eventually trickles down to local streams and water bodies, which, in turn, causes harm to both the water and land ecosystems.
Afforestation restores ecological balance of all ecosystems, maintain biological diversity, and act as catchments for all soil and water, conservation, prevent floods and future of tribal people.

The concern mainly arises with large-scale monoculture tree plantations in Third World countries. Such plantations are usually set up for the purposes of abundant and cheap supply of raw materials to industrialised countries.

The United States is roughly one-third covered in forest and woodland. Nevertheless, areas in the US were subject to significant tree planting. In the 1800s people moving westward encountered the Great Plains - land with fertile soil, a growing population and a demand for timber but with few trees to supply it. So tree planting was encouraged along homesteads. Arbor Day was founded in 1872 by Julius Sterling Morton in Nebraska City, Nebraska. By the 1930s the Dust Bowl environmental disaster signified a reason for significant new tree cover. Public works programs under the New Deal saw the planting of 18,000 miles of windbreaks stretching from North Dakota to Texas to fight soil erosion.

A number of non-government organisations have joined hands to form a global network in order to share information and implement joint action against such plantations.

In India, because of its large population, there has been growing demand for lands that are used in primary industries, such as arable land, grazing land and forestry land.

Therefore, for developing quality seeds a centrally sponsored scheme was introduced by the National Wastelands Development Board in 1988-89. In India, the fuel wood and fodder requirements of the rural population and the tribals cannot be met in an ad hoc manner. Therefore, to ensure an area-specific approach of fuel wood and fooder, a centrally sponsored scheme was initiated in 1988-89.

And a considerable amount of cultivation and afforestation has taken place in response to such demand. This study deals with these three types of lands and analyzes the economic impact in India of cultivation and afforestation, using a Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model.
To meet the deficiency of supply of wood in view of the growing demand, three important schemes were undertaken: (i) plantation of quick growing species; (ii) plantation of economic species like teak, sissoo and semal etc. (iii) plantations to be raised under the scheme of rehabilitation of degraded forests. There were various afforestation schemes under state plans and a total area of about 4.2 million hectares was brought under man made plantation between 1951 and 1988.

The model explicitly addresses substitution between traditional goods (fuelwood, cattle dung, and draft animals) and modern goods (fossil fuel, chemical fertilizer, and capital such as agro machinery).
Desertification is increasing along the Sahel, the strip of land between Africa's fertile tropics and the Sahara Desert. After a crippling famine in the 1970s caused by overgrazing and deforestation, a local community approach has been pioneered by Yacouba Sawadogo, a peasant farmer. By replanting trees and crops together in holes filled with compost, whole villages have been able to move back to areas considered uninhabitable.

The results show that the two types of land use change (cultivation and afforestation) have many contrasting effects on various indices.

Due to population pressures, in India demand has been increasing for lands that are used in primary industries.

Afforestation means massive program of social forestry to meet demands to local people for fuel, fodder, timber etc.

This includes arable land, grazing land and forestry land. In response to this situation, many cultivation and afforestation projects have been conducted. In the 1950s and 1960s, numerous cultivation initiatives were actively carried out and approx.
In January 2013 the UK government set a target of 12% woodland cover in England by 2060, up from the then 10%. Government-backed initiatives such as the Woodland Carbon Code are intended to support this objective by encouraging corporations and landowners to create new woodland to offset their carbon emissions.

700,000 hectares per year were cultivated. However, because India has achieved food self-sufficiency and since scarce land remains to cultivate, in recent years very little cultivation has taken place. Instead , many irrigation projects have been conducted and the focal emphasis of the nation's arable land policy has shifted from quantitative expansion to qualitative enhancement.
All should come forward to make the plantation projects a real success. It is to be remembered that one tree means one life and it is to be saved for our own safety. The rehabilitation of forests and maintenance of proper forest cover and ecosystem are therefore the only left to us for our survival.

China has deforested most of its historically wooded areas. China reached the point where timber yields declined far below historic levels, due to over-harvesting of trees beyond sustainable yield.[3] Although it has set official goals for reforestation, these goals were set for an 80 year time horizon and are not significantly met by 2008. China is trying to correct these problems by projects as the Green Wall of China, which aims to replant a great deal of forests and halt the expansion of the Gobi desert.

According to plan document, the afforestation schemes have no specific plan of action for meeting fuel wood and fodder requirement except for the continuance of the scheme for rural fuel wood plantation, which does not directly address these issues. Fostering of people’s movement for afforestation has been done largely through increasing people’s interest in farm forestry.

A law promulgated in 1981 requires that every citizen over the age of 11 plant at least one tree per year. As a result, China currently has the highest afforestation rate of any country or region in the world, with 47,000 square kilometers of afforestation in 2008.
According to Food and Agriculture Organization statistics, Spain had the third fastest afforestation rate in Europe in the 1990-2005 period, after Iceland and Ireland. In those years, a total of 44,360 square kilometers were afforested, and the total forest cover rose from 13,5 to 17,9 million hectares. In 1990, forests covered 26.6% of the Spanish territory. As of 2007, that figure had risen to 36.6%. Spain today has the fifth largest forest area in the European Union.

However, the forest area per capita is still far lower than the international average. An ambitious proposal for China is the Aerially Delivered Re-forestation and Erosion Control System

North Africa:-

In North Africa, the sahara forest project coupled with the Seawater Greenhouse has been proposed.

Since 2009, the JNF has provided the Palestinian Authority with 3,000 tree seedlings for a forested area being developed on the edge of the new city of Rawabi, north of Ramallah.

Some projects have also been launched in countries as Senegal to revert desertification. At present (2010) African leaders are discussing the combining of national countries in their continent to increase effectiveness.
Afforestation shall assist in achieving 33% of land to be covered by forest in future. Large scale afforestation is the need of the hour. It means preservation and plantation of trees. The massive afforestation pro­grammes help fast in growing indigenous and exotic species for production and protection of forestry on suitable land including waste land.

In addition, other projects as the Keita project in Niger have been launched in the past, and have been able to locally revert damage done by desertification.


Europe has deforested the majority of its historical forests.

The scheme of plantation of new forest is called afforestation.

The European Union has paid farmers for afforestation since 1990, offering grants to turn farmland back into forest and payments for the management of forest. Between 1993 and 1997, EU afforestation policies made possible the re-forestation of over 5,000 square kilometres of land.
This scheme has covered the watersheds in the districts included under the National Watershed Development Programme of the Department of Agriculture. The scheme of decentralised people’s nurseries was initiated in 1986-87 for encouraging seeding production by farmers to cater to local needs of planting material. The Eighth Plan identified some deficiencies of the various afforestation schemes.

A second program, running between 2000 and 2006, afforested in excess of 1000 square kilometres of land (precise statistics not yet available). A third such program began in 2007.

In Poland, the National Program of Afforestation was introduced by the government after World War II, when total area of forests shrank to 20% of country's territory.

Under this scheme of afforestation, priority was given to ; (i) establishment of decentralised nurseries; (ii) block plantation on community land and land of SC/ST and people living below the poverty line; (iii) pasture development through people’s involvement; and (iv) assistance in implementing the Tree Pata Schemes. Often afforestation programmes are not quite successful because of the poor quality of seeds.

Consequently, forested areas of Poland grew year by year, and on December 31, 2006, forests covered 29% of the country (see: Polish forests). It is planned that by 2050, forests will cover 33% of Poland.
Afforestation is the establishment of a forest or stand of trees in an area where there was no previous tree cover. Reforestation is the reestablishment of forest cover, either naturally (by natural seeding, coppice, or root suckers) or artificially (by direct seeding or planting).

According to FAO statistics, Spain had the fastest afforestation rate in Europe in the 1990-2005 period. In those years, a total of 44,360 square kilometers were afforested, and the total forest cover rose from 13,5 to 17,9 million hectares.

The restoration of forests that had been indiscriminately destroyed is called re-afforestation. Under this scheme, two sapling are planted to replace every felled tree.

In 1990, forests covered 26,6% of the Spanish territory. As of 2005, that figure had risen to 35,4%. Spain today has the third largest forest area in the European Union, after Sweden and Finland.


Iran is considered a low forest cover region of the world with present cover approximating seven percent of the land area.

Alpine and Subalpine regions have undergone a lot of deforestation and then forestation in the last 300 years. Out of this has emerged much practical experience. One example is the Rotten group, which is a method to bring in stable age mixed tree communities.

This is a value reduced by an estimated six million hectares of virgin forest, which includes oak, almond and pistacio. Due to soil substrates, it is difficult to achieve afforestation on a large scale compared to other temperate areas endowed with more fertile and less rocky and arid soil conditions.
Gap dynamics is the pattern of plant growth that occurs following the creation of a forest gap, a local area of natural disturbance that results in an opening in the canopy of a forest. Gap dynamics are a typical characteristic of temperate and tropical forests, and have a wide variety of causes and effects on forest life.

Consequently, most of the afforestation is conducted with non-native species, leading to habitat destruction for native flora and fauna, and resulting in an accelerated loss of biodiversity.



Deforestation is the clearance of forests by logging and/or burning (popularly known as slash and burn) Deforestation is the permanent destruction of indigenous forests and woodlands.

Under the social forestry programme, the efforts have been departmental. The rural poor and tribals who depend mostly on public and forest lands for their living have at best been given restricted access to the areas taken up for development.

The term does not include the removal of industrial forests such as plantations of gums or pines. Deforestation has resulted in the reduction of indigenous forests to four-fifths of their pre-agricultural area. Indigenous forests now cover 21% of the earth's land surface

Causes and Effects of Deforestation

Trees are one of the most important aspects of the planet we live in. Trees are vitally important to the environment, animals, and of course for us humans. They are important for the climate of the Earth, they act as filters of carbon dioxide, they are habitats and shelters to millions of species, and they are also important for their aesthetic appeal.

Forestation is the establishment of forest growth on areas that either had forest or lacked it. Reforestation and afforestation are categories of forestation. Many governments and non-governmental organizations directly engage in programs of afforestation to create forests, increase carbon capture and carbon sequestration, and help to anthropogenically improve biodiversity. (In the UK, afforestation may mean converting the legal status of some land to "royal forest".) Special tools, e.g.

However , the trees on our planet are being depleted at a very fast rate. According to some estimates, more than 50 percent of the tree cover has disappeared due to human activity.

ROOT OF CAUSES OF DEFORESTATION: one-third of the earth's land is covered with forest. They play an important role in sustaining life. They house over 60% of the world's biodiversity and provide human beings with many products such as food, medicine, fuel, lumber, paper etc. There are two main causes of deforestation. The primary and most common reasons for deforestation are known as the direct causes. Logging, overpopulation , urbanization, dam construction etc are under direct causes.

In 1985, the Central Government set up a National Wasteland Development Board (NWDB) with the aim of bringing 5 million hectares of wasteland per year under fuelwood and fodder plantation with people’s participation.

The other main cause of deforestation is known as natural causes since they are brought by the Mother Nature. n increase in population also means an increase in produce consumption. Thus, rainforests are destroyed and converted to cattle pasture to supply the burgeoning demand for meat. In Central America, almost half of the rainforests have been slashed and burned for cattle farming in order comply with foreign demands. Twenty-five per cent of the Amazon's forests have also been destroyed for cattle ranches.

Lack of government legislation for land reforms has also cleared the forest especially in developing countries like of the South East Asian nations. People in that region are among the poorest in the world and are desperate for a piece of land. Unequal distribution of resources has led these people to find their way to exploit the forests.

Another reason that denudes the forest is exploitative economic development schemes and the powerlessness of government to safeguard its resources . Poor countries in their attempt to increase their revenues are in a way exploiting their resources like the forests. Timber is exported to reduce the national debt. Countries rich in mineral resources open their doors to multinational mining corporations that clear the forests as they go with their operations. The government especially those belonging in the Third World cannot curb commercial logging and implement a total log ban in exchange to higher foreign exchange rates . Development projects like dams, roads, and airports contracted by the government also cause deforestation.

Under the “Van Mahotsava” movement, thousands of trees have been planted along roads railway lines and hill slopes.

While most causes of deforestation occur due to human activities, there are uncontrolled causes of deforestation such as forest fires, volcanic eruption, and typhoon.

Forest fires are started by lightning, and strong winds help to spread the flames. Drought in the forest has increased the amount of flammable bush and debris on the forest floor. Forest fires destroy immeasurable amount of valuable timber. They kill not only trees but also other living things.


Effects of Deforestation:

There are a number of adverse effects of deforestation, such as:

Erosion of Soil:

When forest areas are cleared, it results in exposing the soil to the sun, making it very dry and eventually, infertile , due to volatile nutrients such as nitrogen being lost. In addition, when there is rainfall, it was hes away the rest of the nutrients, which flow with the rain water into waterways. Because of this, merely replanting trees may not help in solving the problems caused by deforestation, for by the time the trees mature, the soil will be totally devoid of essential nutrients. Ultimately, cultivation in this land will also become impossible, resulting in the land becoming useless. Large tracts of land will be rendered permanently impoverished due to soil erosion.

Disruption of the Water Cycle:

Trees contribute in a large way in maintaining the water cycle. They draw up water via their roots, which is then released into the atmosphere. A large part of the water that circulates in the ecosystem of rainforests, for instance, remains inside the plants. When these trees are cut down it results in the climate getting drier in that area.

Loss of Biodiversity:

The unique biodiversity of various geographical areas is being los t on a scale that is quite unprecedented . Even though tropical rainforests make up just 6 percent of the surface area of the Earth, about 80-90 percent of the entire species of the exist here. Due to massive deforestation , about 50 to 100 species of animals are being lost each day. The outcome of which is the extinction of a functions of forests is to absorb and store great amounts of water quickly when there are heavy rains. When forests are cut down, this regulation of the flow of water is disrupted, which leads to alternating periods of flood and then drought in the affected area.

Climate Change:

It is well known that global warming is being caused largely due to emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, what is not known quite as well is that deforestation has a direction association with carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Trees act as a major storage depot for carbon, since they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which is then used to produce carbohydrates, fats, and proteins that make up trees. When deforestation occurs, many of the trees are burnt or they are allowed to rot, which results in releasing the carbon that is stored in them as carbon dioxide. This, in turn, leads to greater concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.


The positive consequences of deforestation -

Depending on the needs of the social group concerned, deforestation has made it possible for communities to be built. Forests make way for residential houses, office buildings and factories. Governments are able to build roads to make trade and transport easier and therefore more convenient to residents.

Deforestation can also mean the conversion of forest land to productive land for agricultural uses. This results in better and more abundant production of food and materials, virtually eradicating periods of want and lack. Economically, deforestation has contributed much in giving many communities the opportunity to make positive changes in their lives.

The negative consequences of deforestation -

Unfortunately, the negative consequences of deforestation far outweigh its positive effects. Here are a few of them:

1. Exposing soil to heat and rain. When forests are cleared, soil cover, which consists mainly of vegetation, is removed as well. This exposes the bare soil to extreme conditions produced by the sun's heat and rainwater.

With these activities alternating, the soil quickly compacts. As rainwater flows, it will wash out the nutrients and other organic materials that make the soil rich and fertile. Add to that the frequent activities of tilling, cropping and grazing which gradually results to the degradation of the soil's quality.

These practices are specially a concern in areas where forest zones are drier. Agriculture practice on top of deforestation can result to the desertification of many areas. Desertification is also a direct result of the demand for the soil to produce more (as a consequence of the increase in human population), thereby decreasing to a significant degree the land's carrying capacity.

2. Flooding. Deforestation can result to watersheds that are no longer able to sustain and regulate water flows from rivers and streams. Trees are highly effective in absorbing water quantities, keeping the amount of water in watersheds to a manageable level. The forest also serves as a cover against erosion. Once they are gone, too much water can result to downstream flooding, many of which have caused disasters in many parts of the world.

As fertile topsoil is eroded and flooded into the lower regions, many coastal fisheries and coral reefs suffer from the sedimentation brought by the flooding. This results to negative effects in the economic viability of many businesses and fatalities in wildlife population .

3. Non-suitability of areas for conversion. Most of the areas that have undergone deforestation are actually unsuitable for long-term agricultural use such as ranching and farming. Once deprived of their forest cover, the lands rapidly degrade in quality, losing their fertility and arability.

The soil in many deforested areas is also unsuitable for supporting annual crops. Much of the grassy areas are also not as productive compared to more arable soils and are therefore not fit for long-term cattle grazing.

4. The displacement of indigenous communities and their traditional way of life. When governments decide to offer forests for deforestation mainly to open up areas for 'civilized' communities, access to forest resources by indigenous peoples are ignored. In fact, indigenous peoples are hardly included in economic and political decisions that directly affect their lives. This encroachment ignores their rights as much as it takes away the resources that their ancestors have bestowed upon them.

5. The loss in the number of biodiversity. This is probably the most serious consequence of deforestation . Put simply, it means the destruction and extinction of many plant and animal species , many of whom remain unknown and whose benefits will be left undiscovered.

Environmental problems:-


Deforestation is ongoing and is shaping climate and geography.

Deforestation is a contributor to global warming, and is often cited as one of the major causes of the enhanced greenhouse effect. Tropical deforestation is responsible for approximately 20% of world greenhouse gas emissions.According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change deforestation, mainly in tropical areas, could account for up to one-third of total anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. But recent calculations suggest that carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (excluding peatland emissions) contribute about 12% of total anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions with a range from 6 to 17%. Trees and other plants remove carbon (in the form of carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere during the process of photosynthesis and release oxygen back into the atmosphere during normal respiration. Only when actively growing can a tree or forest remove carbon over an annual or longer timeframe. Both the decay and burning of wood releases much of this stored carbon back to the atmosphere. In order for forests to take up carbon, the wood must be harvested and turned into long-lived products and trees must be re-planted Deforestation may cause carbon stores held in soil to be released. Forests are stores of carbon and can be either sinks or sources depending upon environmental circumstances. Mature forests alternate between being net sinks and net sources of carbon dioxide (see carbon dioxide sink and carbon cycle).

Reducing emissions from the tropical deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in developing countries has emerged as new potential to complement ongoing climate policies. The idea consists in providing financial compensations for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from deforestation and forest degradation".

Rainforests are widely believed by laymen to contribute a significant amount of world's oxygen, although it is now accepted by scientists that rainforests contribute little net oxygen to the atmosphere and deforestation will have no effect on atmospheric oxygen levels.However, the incineration and burning of forest plants to clear land releases large amounts of CO2, which contributes to global warming.

Forests are also able to extract carbon dioxide and pollutants from the air, thus contributing to biosphere stability.


The water cycle is also affected by deforestation. Trees extract groundwater through their roots and release it into the atmosphere. When part of a forest is removed, the trees no longer evaporate away this water, resulting in a much drier climate. Deforestation reduces the content of water in the soil and groundwater as well as atmospheric moisture.Deforestation reduces soil cohesion, so that erosion, flooding and landslides ensue.Forests enhance the recharge of aquifers in some locales, however, forests are a major source of aquifer depletion on most locales.

Shrinking forest cover lessens the landscape's capacity to intercept, retain and transpire precipitation. Instead of trapping precipitation, which then percolates to groundwater systems, deforested areas become sources of surface water runoff, which moves much faster than subsurface flows. That quicker transport of surface water can translate into flash flooding and more localized floods than would occur with the forest cover. Deforestation also contributes to decreased evapotranspiration, which lessens atmospheric moisture which in some cases affects precipitation levels downwind from the deforested area, as water is not recycled to downwind forests, but is lost in runoff and returns directly to the oceans. According to one study, in deforested north and northwest China, the average annual precipitation decreased by one third between the 1950s and the 1980s.[citation needed]

Trees, and plants in general, affect the water cycle significantly:

their canopies intercept a proportion of precipitation, which is then evaporated back to the atmosphere (canopy interception);

their litter, stems and trunks slow down surface runoff;

their roots create macropores - large conduits - in the soil that increase infiltration of water;

they contribute to terrestrial evaporation and reduce soil moisture via transpiration;

their litter and other organic residue change soil properties that affect the capacity of soil to store water.

their leaves control the humidity of the atmosphere by transpiring. 99% of the water absorbed by the roots moves up to the leaves and is transpired.

As a result, the presence or absence of trees can change the quantity of water on the surface, in the soil or groundwater, or in the atmosphere. This in turn changes erosion rates and the availability of water for either ecosystem functions or human services.

The forest may have little impact on flooding in the case of large rainfall events, which overwhelm the storage capacity of forest soil if the soils are at or close to saturation.

Tropical rainforests produce about 30% of our planet's fresh water.


Deforestation for the use of clay in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. The hill depicted is Morro da Covanca, in Jacarepaguá

Undisturbed forests have a very low rate of soil loss, approximately 2 metric tons per square kilometer (6 short tons per square feet).[citation needed] Deforestation generally increases rates of soil erosion, by increasing the amount of runoff and reducing the protection of the soil from tree litter. This can be an advantage in excessively leached tropical rain forest soils. Forestry operations themselves also increase erosion through the development of roads and the use of mechanized equipment.

China's Loess Plateau was cleared of forest millennia ago. Since then it has been eroding, creating dramatic incised valleys, and providing the sediment that gives the Yellow River its yellow color and that causes the flooding of the river in the lower reaches (hence the river's nickname 'China's sorrow').

Removal of trees does not always increase erosion rates. In certain regions of southwest US, shrubs and trees have been encroaching on grassland. The trees themselves enhance the loss of grass between tree canopies. The bare intercanopy areas become highly erodible. The US Forest Service, in Bandelier National Monument for example, is studying how to restore the former ecosystem, and reduce erosion, by removing the trees. Tree roots bind soil together, and if the soil is sufficiently shallow they act to keep the soil in place by also binding with underlying bedrock. Tree removal on steep slopes with shallow soil thus increases the risk of landslides, which can threaten people living nearby. However most deforestation only affects the trunks of trees, allowing for the roots to stay rooted, negating the landslide.


Deforestation results in declines in biodiversity. The removal or destruction of areas of forest cover has resulted in a degraded environment with reduced biodiversity. Forests support biodiversity, providing habitat for wildlife; moreover, forests foster medicinal conservation. With forest biotopes being irreplaceable source of new drugs (such as taxol), deforestation can destroy genetic variations (such as crop resistance) irretrievably.

Since the tropical rainforests are the most diverse ecosystems on Earth and about 80% of the world's known biodiversity could be found in tropical rainforests, removal or destruction of significant areas of forest cover has resulted in a degraded environment with reduced biodiversity.

It has been estimated that we are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation, which equates to 50,000 species a year. Others state that tropical rainforest deforestation is contributing to the ongoing Holocene mass extinction.The known extinction rates from deforestation rates are very low, approximately 1 species per year from mammals and birds which extrapolates to approximately 23,000 species per year for all species. Predictions have been made that more than 40% of the animal and plant species in Southeast Asia could be wiped out in the 21st century. Such predictions were called into question by 1995 data that show that within regions of Southeast Asia much of the original forest has been converted to monospecific plantations, but that potentially endangered species are few and tree flora remains widespread and stable.

Scientific understanding of the process of extinction is insufficient to accurately make predictions about the impact of deforestation on biodiversity.[56] Most predictions of forestry related biodiversity loss are based on species-area models, with an underlying assumption that as the forest declines species diversity will decline similarly.However, many such models have been proven to be wrong and loss of habitat does not necessarily lead to large scale loss of species.[57] Species-area models are known to overpredict the number of species known to be threatened in areas where actual deforestation is ongoing, and greatly overpredict the number of threatened species that are widespread.

Economic impact:-

Damage to forests and other aspects of nature could halve living standards for the world's poor and reduce global GDP by about 7% by 2050, a major report concluded at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting in Bonn. Historically utilization of forest products, including timber and fuel wood, have played a key role in human societies, comparable to the roles of water and cultivable land. Today, developed countries continue to utilize timber for building houses, and wood pulp for paper. In developing countries almost three billion people rely on wood for heating and cooking.

The forest products industry is a large part of the economy in both developed and developing countries. Short-term economic gains made by conversion of forest to agriculture, or over-exploitation of wood products, typically leads to loss of long-term income and long term biological productivity (hence reduction in nature's services). West Africa, Madagascar, Southeast Asia and many other regions have experienced lower revenue because of declining timber harvests. Illegal logging causes billions of dollars of losses to national economies annually.

The new procedures to get amounts of wood are causing more harm to the economy and overpowers the amount of money spent by people employed in logging.


Reducing emissions

Major international organizations, including the United Nations and the World Bank, have begun to develop programs aimed at curbing deforestation. The blanket term Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) describes these sorts of programs, which use direct monetary or other incentives to encourage developing countries to limit and/or roll back deforestation. Funding has been an issue, but at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties-15 (COP-15) in Copenhagen in December 2009, an accord was reached with a collective commitment by developed countries for new and additional resources, including forestry and investments through international institutions, that will approach USD 30 billion for the period 2010 - 2012. Significant work is underway on tools for use in monitoring developing country adherence to their agreed REDD targets. These tools, which rely on remote forest monitoring using satellite imagery and other data sources, include the Center for Global Development's FORMA (Forest Monitoring for Action) initiative and the Group on Earth Observations' Forest Carbon Tracking Portal. Methodological guidance for forest monitoring was also emphasized at COP-15 The environmental organization Avoided Deforestation Partners leads the campaign for development of REDD through funding from the U.S. government.


New methods are being developed to farm more intensively, such as high-yield hybrid crops, greenhouse, autonomous building gardens, and hydroponics. These methods are often dependent on chemical inputs to maintain necessary yields. In cyclic agriculture, cattle are grazed on farm land that is resting and rejuvenating. Cyclic agriculture actually increases the fertility of the soil. Intensive farming can also decrease soil nutrients by consuming at an accelerated rate the trace minerals needed for crop growth.[citation needed]

Forest management

Efforts to stop or slow deforestation have been attempted for many centuries because it has long been known that deforestation can cause environmental damage sufficient in some cases to cause societies to collapse. In Tonga, paramount rulers developed policies designed to prevent conflicts between short-term gains from converting forest to farmland and long-term problems forest loss would cause, while during the seventeenth and 18th centuries in Tokugawa, Japan, the shoguns developed a highly sophisticated system of long-term planning to stop and even reverse deforestation of the preceding centuries through substituting timber by other products and more efficient use of land that had been farmed for many centuries. In 16th century Germany landowners also developed silviculture to deal with the problem of deforestation. However, these policies tend to be limited to environments with good rainfall, no dry season and very young soils (through volcanism or glaciation). This is because on older and less fertile soils trees grow too slowly for silviculture to be economic, whilst in areas with a strong dry season there is always a risk of forest fires destroying a tree crop before it matures.

In the areas where "slash-and-burn" is practiced, switching to "slash-and-char" would prevent the rapid deforestation and subsequent degradation of soils. The biochar thus created, given back to the soil, is not only a durable carbon sequestration method, but it also is an extremely beneficial amendment to the soil. Mixed with biomass it brings the creation of terra preta, one of the richest soils on the planet and the only one known to regenerate itself.

Sustainable practices:-

Certification, as provided by global certification systems such as PEFC and FSC, contributes to tackling deforestation by creating market demand for timber from sustainably managed forests. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), "A major condition for the adoption of sustainable forest management is a demand for products that are produced sustainably and consumer willingness to pay for the higher costs entailed. Certification represents a shift from regulatory approaches to market incentives to promote sustainable forest management. By promoting the positive attributes of forest products from sustainably managed forests, certification focuses on the demand side of environmental conse


India's rising population expansion has positioned the country in great environmental strains. The swiftly developing populace, along with the move in the direction of urbanization and industrialization , has sited a considerable demand on India's infrastructure and its biological reserves.

Deforestation in India, together with all its other environmental effects, continues to go downhill and is encumbering trade and industry development in all of India. However , its booming and exploding metropolises are the ones causing their presently detrimental problems.

It is a good thing to know that a single country can be able to stop deforestation even in a gradual progress. However, the other tribulations that India is now facing should also be dealt in a similar manner. They may have erased their deforestation problems , but other troubles concerning the environment came to take its place. With due hope, all the world is watching over India and its capabilities to fully eliminate their problems that cause disturbance of the balance in nature.

Effects of afforestation and deforestation on the deposition, cycling and leaching of elements

In recent years the atmospheric deposition patterns of sulphur, nitrogen and heavy metals have changed dramatically in 'the industrial world'. The emissions of sulphur and heavy metals have decreased, whereas the emissions of nitrogen compounds have increased to a smaller or larger extent. In parallel , changes in land use and management practice have contributed to changes in the cycling of elements and in soil conditions. Afforestation and deforestation can also change atmospheric dry deposition and the processes controlling the mobility of nutrients and acidifying substances. Different types of forest management such as choice of tree species , deforestation by clear-felling or selection forest, fertilization , liming, sludge and compost addition, etc. will influence the leaching of nutrients from forest ecosystems. Since nitrogen is assumed to be the most important macronutrient in European forest, its input , cycling , turnover, and possible leaching is of crucial interest for forest management. The input of oxidised forms of nitrogen, together with sulphur, contributes to acidification of forest soils, but internal transformation processes, like nitrification, also contribute to acidification of soils. The critical load for atmospheric deposition of nitrogen can be evaluated in relation to nitrogen saturation, leaching, afforestation/ deforestation, stand history and environmental conditions . In such assessments the chemical forms of nitrogen, spatial variability and time resolutions for turnover processes should be considered in combination with the input-output of other elements, especially sulphur



Africa is suffering deforestation at twice the world rate, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Some sources claim that deforestation has already wiped out roughly 90% of West Africa's original forests. Deforestation is accelerating in Central Africa. According to the FAO, Africa lost the highest percentage of tropical forests of any continent during the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s. According to the figures from the FAO (1997), only 22.8% of West Africa's moist forests remain, much of this degraded.Nigeria has lost 81% of its old-growth forests in just 15 years (1990-2005). Massive deforestation threatens food security in some African countries. One factor contributing to the continent's high rates of deforestation is the dependence of 90% of its population on wood as fuel for heating and cooking.



Russia has the largest area of forests of any state on Earth, with around 12 million km2 of boreal forest, larger than the Amazon rainforest. Russia's forests contain 55% of the world's conifers are represent 11% of biomass on Earth. It is estimated that 20,000 km2 are deforested each year.[28] The present scale of deforestation in Russia is most easily seen using Google Earth. Areas nearer to China are most affected, as it is the main market for the timber.[29] Deforestation in Russia is particularly damaging as the forests have a short growing season due to extremely cold winters and therefore will take longer to recover.

Southeast Asia

Forest loss is acute in Southeast Asia, the second of the world's great biodiversity hot spots.According to 2005 report conducted by the FAO, Vietnam has the second highest rate of deforestation of primary forests in the world second to only Nigeria. More than 90% of the old-growth rainforests of the Philippine Archipelago have been cut.Other Southeast Asian countries where major deforestation is ongoing are Cambodia and Laos


Iceland has undergone extensive deforestation since Vikings settled in the ninth century. As a result, vast areas of vegetation and land has degraded, and soil erosion and desertification has occurred. As much as half of the original vegetative cover has been destroyed, caused in part by overexploitation, logging and overgrazing under harsh natural conditions. About 95% of the forests and woodlands once covering at least 25% of the area of Iceland may have been lost. Afforestation and revegetation has restored small areas of land.

North America


In 2005, an estimated 56,000 hectares were deforested in Canada. Deforestation affected less than 0.02% of Canada's forests in 2005. The agricultultural sector accounted for just over half of the deforestation in 2005, the result of forests having been cleared for pasture or crops. The remainder was caused by urban development, transportation corridos, and recreation (19%); hydroelectric development (10%); the forest sector (10%); and other natural resource extraction industries (8%). About two-thirds of this deforestation occurred in Canada's boreal forest, mainly in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba where the forest borders the Prairies.

In Canada, prior to 2000, less than 8% of the boreal forest was protected from development and more than 50% has been allocated to logging companies for cutting.

Prior to the arrival of European-Americans, roughly half of the land area of the present-day United States was forest-about 4 million square kilometers (1 billion acres) in 1600. For the next 300 years land was cleared, mostly for agriculture, at a rate that matched the rate of population growth. For every person added to the population, one to two hectares of land was cultivated. This trend continued until the 1920s when the amount of crop land stabilized in spite of continued population growth. As abandoned farmland reverted to forest, the amount of forestland increased from 1952, reaching a peak in 1963 of 3,080,000 km(762 million acres). Since 1963 there has been a steady decrease of forest area with the exception of some gains from 1997.

Central America:-

The history of most Central American countries involves cycles of deforestation and reforestation. By the fifteenth century, intensive Mayan agriculture had significantly thinned the forests. Before Europeans arrived, forests covered 500,000 square kilometers - approximately 90% of the region. Eventually, the forcing of "Europe's money economy on Latin America" created the demand for the exportation of primary products, which introduced the need for large amounts of cleared agricultural land to produce those products.Since the 1960s, cattle ranching has become the primary reason for land clearing. The lean grass-fed cattle produced by Central American ranches (as opposed to grain-fed cattle raised elsewhere) was perfectly suited for American fast-food restaurants and this seemingly bottomless market has created the so-called "hamburger connection" which links "consumer lifestyles in North America with deforestation in Central America".


Due to relatively recent colonisation, Australia has had high rates of deforestation, primarily due to clearing for agricultural purposes. In recent years much of the clearing has occurred in Tasmania and Queensland,but rates are expected to decrease with the implementation of new legislation. In 1998, deforestation is thought to have been responsible for around 12% of Australia's total carbon emissions.

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