The Impact of Deforestation and Habitat Loss on Biodiversity

By Ian Teñido

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A set of issues are directly linked to deterioration of biodiversity. Climate change has however received much attention- yet in its shadow, much bigger environmental challenges are hidden; deforestation and habitat loss. People all over the world live in or surrounded by some form of forests. However, the trend of clearing forests has been on the high thus threatening the biodiversity of the planet as a whole. Deforestation is rated as a direct extinction of biodiversity. An estimate of 18 million acres of forests is cleared annually at the global scale as a result of human practices and logging particularly.

The Amazon with tropical rain forests hold a very high percentage of the entire world’s known species but such forests are facing a fast decline due to increased anthropogenic activities. While the natural causes can slightly be associated with deforestation, the human activities have by far pushed the forest lands into extinction; an aspect that should be a concern to everyone. In this discussion, I look at the several causes of deforestation and habitat loss and the remedies available to put back forest lands on the track of Re-afforestation as a way of restoring and sustaining the integrity of biodiversity.

Deforestation initially used to be a natural process where people in their primitive communities would occupy an area, clear the bushes and a few trees to pave way for their settlement and agriculture. This notion, however, changed when the populations began growing exponentially and the smaller villages and community lands needed to be enlarged and extended further into the forests to ensure that both the living space and the granaries were adequately provided and filled respectively. The current urbanization rates have posted the need for increased housing and the only way to get land is on fresh lands hosting the forests.

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The harvest of timber is also a great depriver of forests and biodiversity. While timber is a raw material for construction industry, its harvest has been unsustainable because the trees are cut without regard to re-growth (Nogherotto et al., 2013). Timber in the market is also poorly preserved thus shortening their life span of use. This makes it necessary for new timber to be harvested thus keeping its market highly in demand. Also, the forests contain highly priced items like oil and rubber. These items are highly needed as ingredients in different types of products. As a result, people endeavor to make a living out of it especially in the developing countries’ forests. Another aspect of the modern day deforestation is clearing of forests to create room for cattle ranches. While it can be seen as an inconsequential component of deforestation, the summation of all ranches should be something to worry about.

Research and science has proven that forests host, captivate, and motivate the growth of numerous species of both flora and fauna. Cutting the trees kills the life of numerous other species because the ideal conditions for their growth are rudely taken away. Take for instance the moss and tendrils; they grow on trees and their ecological contribution is enormous, yet simply cutting down the trees on which they grow stops their life there.  Therefore, it can conclude that deforestation is a leading killer of the world’s biodiversity.

In conclusion, all is not lost because we can restore, conserve and sustain the existing forests as well as grow new forest areas in order to increase the level of biodiversity in the world.  In order to achieve this goal, conscious efforts must be made to share the information on the need for conserving forests in schools and institutions as well as communities (Bunnell & Dunsworth, 2009). The use of artificial items should be reduced and more should be recycled so that little timber materials and other forest products can be put on low demand. Forests are the mother of biodiversity; biodiversity is life, and life should be protected at all costs.

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References

Bunnell, F. & Dunsworth, G. (2009). Forestry and Biodiversity. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press.

Nogherotto, R.., Coppola, E., Giorgi, F., & Mariotti, L. (2013). Impact of Congo Basin deforestation on the African monsoon. Atmospheric Science Letter. Royal Meteorological Society, 14(1), 45-51.

Google Images: http://commonsensecanadian.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Canada-surpasses-Brazil-as-global-leader-in-deforestation.jpg https://coreybradshaw.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/greenhouse_deforestation_cartoon1.jpg

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