Deforestation commonly knows as ‘the unplanned and unwise removal of forest trees’. It can also be define as ‘physical destruction of forest vegetation that may cause by human intervention or natural disasters’. The common methods of deforestation are cutting off trees, clearing of forest lands for agriculture practices and pasturing.

Most countries of the world are seriously facing the problem of deforestation
Deforestation: a threat to environment

The most concentrated forests in the world are tropical rain forest. It has almost cleared 50 percent which has caused a great risk for the extinction of many wild species.

Most countries of the world are seriously facing the problem of deforestation. The most significant are developing countries, that include Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh in South Asia.

It has been estimated that 12 to 15 million hectares of lands are deforested every year which is alarming situation for our environment. About 87 percent forest cutting occurs in tropical rain forest which is a threat for global environment.

Tree as carbon filter

Trees are the great source for carbon sink, component of water cycle in environment and filtrates for the underground water. There are different causes of deforestation but most of them are related to the needs of people like fuel wood and in some areas the forest wood is also a source of income for many families.

It has been estimated that about 5 % deforestation occur due to fuel wood.  Farmers are cutting forest for growing crops, as the demand of food is increasing day by day for swelling population. Globalization is also one of the major causes of deforestation.

Urbanization and population increase

Increase in population need more land so cities and towns are expanding and forest are cutting to clear land. Trees are also cut down for developing pastures so that farmers can meet needs of fodder for livestock. Logging operation is also continues for the production of wood for paper and other wood industries requirements.

Forests are also cut down for developing urban sprawls. Some natural causes of deforestation are earthquake, forest fires, overgrazing by wild animals which prevent growth of young generation of plants.

In most developing countries the forest trees are cut down by smugglers to get easy cash as there is no better management of forest lands. Deforestation has many negative effects on our environment and thus it is a serious threat to our environment.

The most significant effect of deforestation is the loss of habitat for many wild animals and plants. About 70 percent of animals and plants live in forest. Due to deforestation the homes of millions of species has vanish.

Deforestation expose soil to rainfall due to which infiltration becomes less and floods in water channel produce which is serious threat for human, plants and animals. Deforestation also leads to soil erosion and thus top fertile soil can be loss. Global climate changes due to deforestation and our climate become abnormal.

Water and deforestation

Forest has great role in maintaining water cycle. The disturbance of water cycle has brought many climatic changes in the world. Tree cutting is causing the concentration of greenhouse gases, resulting global warming is increasing continuously that leads to many life threatening diseases.

Deforestation may adversely affect water quality as water of precipitation is filter by trees during infiltration.

Deforestation in developing countries produce different resource crises obtained from forest. It leads to the desertification of land as the soil become poor and loss the ability of growing more plants that arise economic problems. Estimates shows that deforestation will reduce 7 per cent GDP globally by 2050.

Deforestation losses

Biodiversity loss occurs due to deforestation. Forests are necessary for landscape of an area thus due to forest cutting the aesthetic beauty of an area decrease, reduce tourist visit and country face economic loss. Lot of species becomes endangered, extinct and rare due to deforestation.

The most significant species which are going to extinct are Snow leopard, Common leopard, Morcopolo sheep, Ibex, Musk deer, Wild goats, Houbra bustard, Cranes, Taxus baccata, Pinus geradiana, Rafflesia, Grass Ferns e.t.c..

The most suitable solutions for controlling deforestation are sustainable management of forest, afforestation practices and reforestation practices. The tree cutting can be balance by planting young plants. Although natural regeneration is also continuing in forest areas yet we must also encourage the artificial regeneration to control deforestation.

Sustainable management of forest area means that we manage forest in such a way that we may fulfill our needs by cutting trees and then regenerate the area by suitable methods of plantation. Afforestation and reforestation is also a workable solution for controlling deforestation. About 10 % to 20% forest has improved in the last few years with Afforestation and reforestation practices.

Mitigation strategy

Agroforestry and farm forestry practices have also a significant effect to reduce pressure on commercial forest areas. Agro and farm forestry practices meet the needs of fuel wood, timber wood and also fodder for livestock. The month of March in many countries celebrates the tree plantation drive. This has significant effect on the improvement of forest area.

Conversion of forest lands to agriculture lands or pasturing lands should be minimized as possible and alternate sources should be used. For growth of crop plants, barren lands need to improve by fertilizers and water. This may reduce pressure on commercial forest areas.

Better management of forest lands and implementation of laws for forest area may also be beneficial in controlling deforestation. It is an evil for our environment and every one should take a positive step for its control.

Muhammad Akmal Shah