Deforestation causes soil erosion, landslides
and flash floods. Without proper development and planning, a land stripped of
its vegetation is subjected to soil erosion. Soil erosion is the removal and
thinning of the soil layer due to physical and climatic processes such as high
rainfalls. The absence of plant root systems makes the soil structure unstable.
When there are heavy rains for a long period of time, the top layer of the soil
crumbles and this leads to landslides on steep hillsides. The eroded soil is
then carried by moving water and deposited at the bottom of the rivers. This,
together with depletion of water causes flash floods during the rainy seasons.
Soil erosion causes the land to be depleted of minerals and natural resources,
making the land infertile.
Deforestation also results in the loss of
biodiversity. Deforestation has a devastating effect on the biodiversity in
tropical rainforests. The destruction of millions of hectares of forests by
human activities causes the removal of bases of numerous food webs, the loss of
habitats of many species of flora and fauna and the extinction of countless
species of and varieties of plants and animals. The extinction of flora and
fauna species reduces the biodiversity. Biodiversity can be a rich source of
food and priceless medicines to mankind.
Deforestation also disrupts the carbon and
nitrogen cycles. The removal of plants in the rainforest, disrupts the natural
cycle of nutrients. The level of atmospheric carbon dioxide rises as less
oxygen is released by plants during photosynthesis. The recycling of nitrates
and other ions slows down. Tree roots bind soil particles together, and the
tree canopy reduces the force of rain beating down on the soil. Deforestation,
therefore leads to loss of nutrients.
Deforestation also causes climatic changes. It
disrupts the normal weather patterns, creating hotter, drier weather and
causing global climatic changes. The removal of trees reduces transpiration,
rainfall and the rate at which plants absorbs carbon dioxide from the
atmosphere during photosthesis. This leads to an increase of carbon dioxide
level in the atmosphere, which I also known as global warming. Forest clearing
and burning of wood also results in air pollution.
CONSERVATION OF FORESTS
Conservation of forests can be broken down in
to In-situ conservation and Ex-situ conservation. In- situ
conservation is the conservation of species in their natural habitats and is
considered the most appropriate way of conserving biodiversity. It conserves
the areas where populations of species exist naturally in an underlying
condition for the conservation of biodiversity.
conservation is the preservation of components of biological diversity that is
outside their natural habitats. Some of their ex-situ conservation method
includes gene banks for example seed banks, sperm and ova banks and filed
banks. Moreover, it also includes, captive breeding animals and artificial
propagation of plants with possible reintroduction into the wild, in vitro
plant tissues and microbial culture collections, and collecting organisms for
zoos, aquaria and botanic gardens for research and public awareness.
conservation can be complementary to in-situ methods as it provides an
“insurance policy” against extinction. These measures also have a valuable role
to play in recovery programmes for endangered species. In agricultural, ex-situ
conservation measures maintain domesticated plants which cannot survive in
nature unaided. Ex-situ conservation provides excellent research opportunities
on the components of biological diversity. Some of these institutions also play
a central role in public education and awareness by bringing members of the
public into contact with plants and animals they may not normally come in