What is deforestation?Explain how it affects the environment.

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marbar57's profile pic

marbar57 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Deforestation is the intentional clearing and removal of trees, shrubs, and bushes to make way for roads, homes, towns, businesses, farmland, and to create firewood, building materials, and paper.  Seldom was any thought given to the replacement of those trees.   

To understand the problems that deforestation creates, we have to first examine the importance of trees and other similar vegetation.  In the forest, trees serve several important functions. 

1.  Trees provide homes and shelter for the animals.  When too many trees and vegetation are removed, the animals have nowhere to live and have to relocate to a forested area.  This disrupts the food chain in the new area and can often lead to overgrazing or overpopulation. 

2.  Trees take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and, through the process of photosynthesis, create oxygen.  Oxygen is vital to animals as well as humans.  Removing huge areas of forest deplete the atmosphere of precious oxygen. 

3.  Trees filter the sunlight that comes through their branches, which has a cooling effect upon the ground.  Remove too many trees and the ground heats up, which in turn heats up the air about it. This warm air then heats up the land even further.  This alarming trend could melt the polar ice caps causing worldwide flooding, and drastic changes to our weather patterns and climates.

4.  A tree's root system holds the soil in place, especially on steep mountainsides.  When a tree is cut down and its stump removed from the soil, erosion becomes possible.  Vast quantities of rich topsoil have been washed away because there were no trees to hold it in place.  Without good soil virtually nothing will grow, and deserts begin to form where once there were vast tracts of forest land.

Over the years since our country's beginnings, several vast forests completely disappeared and others were shrinking.  Soon it became clear to naturalists and conservationists that something needed to be done to save our remaining forest lands.  The Department of the Interior was established in the early 1900's, with several bureaus like the National Park Service for the purpose of

protecting America’s great outdoors and empowering our future.

Now that we know a little bit about what trees do for our environment and the devastating effects of deforestation, hopefully today's efforts to preserve, protect, and replace them will ensure they are still there tomorrow.

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sanjeetmanna's profile pic

sanjeetmanna | College Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted on

Deforestation is the destruction of forested land by cutting the trees. It has proved to be a major problem all over world, the rates of destruction of forests are high in the tropics.

The causes of deforestation vary form place to place. The main causes,  are logging, agricultural expansion, wars, and mining etc.,

Deforestation has been the cause of many problems facing the world today such as soil erosions, loss of biodiversity through extinction of plant and animal species, and increased atmospheric carbon dioxide and finally leads to global warming and we know if the global warming increases it will be the biggest disaster for humans.

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