Deforestation Essay, Research Paper
Deforestation is increasing as a global concern. In recent years deforestation has risen to dangerous levels. This reason is mainly due to the fact that most people have no idea what deforestation is. This lack of education has caused many changes in the global economy. The concerns no longer center on deforestation but in the effects it will have in our environment in the future. This issue has sparked national attention. It has caused a chain of recent plans and policies to be introduced. Also it has brought us together as a nation to fight a common problem.
Deforestation is the clearing the land of forest or trees. Many people do not even know that this problem exists, although it may be occurring right in their own neighborhoods. The causes of deforestation are broad. It used to be thought that the lumber industry was much to blame, when in fact the industry is very low. Most of the land was used for various other reasons such as building and agricultural expansion. The land is used for growing crops and livestock grazing. In many cases the Slash and Burn method is used. This is where the farmers cut down and burn forests to get to the land that is feasible for farming. Most of the tropical soils are very poor in nutrients and can only support crops for a few years. When the soil has been exhausted it is either abandoned or turned over for livestock grazing.
The effects of deforestation on the environment are numerous. The reduction of forests upsets the entire ecological cycle. The forests are home to a number of plants and animals. When a forest is cut down, the whole cycle suffers. Most of all the forests act as a carbon sink . That is they help to take in carbon, a green house gas, and offset its effect on the atmosphere. Also trees and plants on a forest can help to supply an alternative source of fossil fuels. Tree planting is also good for urban development. They help with heating and cooling costs to be lowered. There is evidence from the UN sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that came out in 1990. This organization records the change of climate control and has the best of these fields working for it. It predicted that if our economy keeps releasing emissions as we are that our annual temperature would increase at 0.3 degrees per decade over the next century. This is beyond what the earth has experienced over the past 10,000 years (Muller Introduction). We currently are increasing at a rate of 0.5 percent per year. To get these levels back to normal we would have to have a cut in emissions by over 60%worldwide. The greatest producer of these carbon gases is the burning of fossil fuels. With just 5% of the worlds population, the United States currently accounts for 20%of both total warming commitment and carbon dioxide emissions (Muller Intro.).
Congressional concern over ways to reduce deforestation has grown. They center mostly on developing countries where the deforestation is most rapid. Many new plans and programs are being introduced to help aid with the issue. The major organizations working on deforestation are: the Tropical Forestry action Program, the International Tropical Timber organization, the United Nations Conference on Environmental and Developmental Forest Principles and Agenda 21 chapter on forests, the U.S. Forests For the Future Initiative, and the World Bank. Some of these are centered strictly in tropical deforestation.
The Tropical Forestry Action Program (TFAP) was started in June of 1985. Its purpose was to slow down the tropical deforestation and help countries develop plans to help with their management of such issues. It was a correlation of the World Resources Institute, the World Bank, the United Nations Developmental Program and work by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). The program is developed to help aid tropical countries in the reduction of deforestation. Currently 90 developing countries are participating-38 African countries, 20 in Asia and the Pacific, and 32 in Latin America and the Caribbean. (Fletcher, Lyke 6)
The objectives of the plan are as follows. They plan center on five major issues in tropical countries. These were defined by the 1987 TFAP.
h Forrest in land uses. Action is this area is at the interface between forestry and agriculture and would aim at integrating forestry into agricultural systems in order to conserve the resource base for agriculture, and, in general, achieve a more rational use of the land.
h Forest based Industrial Development. Planning in this area would promote appropriate forest-based industries, reduce waste, and develop the marketing if forest industry products.
h Fuelwood and energy. Action in this area would aim at restoring fuelwood supplies in the countries affected by shortages through foreign assistance and support for national fuelwood and wood energy programs, development of wood-based energy systems for rural and industrial development, regional training and demonstration, and intensification of research and development.
h Conservation of tropical forestry ecosystems. Action planned in this area would aim at conserving, managing and utilizing tropical plants and wild animal genetic resources through the development of national networks of protected areas, the planning, management and development of individual protected areas, and research into the management of tropical forests for sustainable production.
h Institutions. Goals would be actions to remove the institutional constraints impeding the conservation and wise use of tropical forest resources by strengthening public forest administration and related governmental agencies, to integrate forestry concerns into developmental planning, providing institutional support for private and local organizations developing professional, technical and vocational training, and to improve extension and research. (Fletcher, Lyke 6-7)
The funding for the project is provided by governmental and private sources. It plans on spending roughly eight billion dollars over the next five years (1985-1991). It would be divided among the five areas just mentioned.
There have been numerous criticisms about the plan. Mostly it has been that it is on the fact that it is concentrating mostly on the deforestation factor and failing to recognize other environmental issues. It has been said to isolate groups of people. Also, they fail to get to the real source of deforestation, which to some, are things such as over population and poverty. They say that it doesn t give any incentives or sanctions.
Although this centers more on the tropical regions, there are also many other plans to help out in our areas. The easiest way to combat deforestation is through reforestation. This is, planting new trees. This does not mean just going out and planting seeds, but actually planting grown trees. There needs to be educated environmentalist who know what they are doing to plant these trees. We can not just go and place them anywhere and expect then to work to their potential. They need to be strategically placed in areas where they can work the best that they can. This is not to say that everyday people can t help. We can definitely all try. By planting a tree we can do our best, while making the world a more beautiful place.
Deforestation is an increasing global concern. In recent years it has risen to dangerous levels. This is due to the fact that many people do not even know what it is. This lack of education has caused the problem to get to intense levels before there has been any plans to reverse its effects. Its effects are effecting the whole ecological cycle, and if not dealt with could lead to an ecological disaster. Although there are many companies out there to try and solve this problem, many people have a common misconception. They believe that we could all just plant trees, and save the world. Although tree planting would be great that is not true. There needs to be the right trees planted in the right areas, where they can work to their highest potential as carbon sinks. This way they can help to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, while looking beautiful. Wouldn t it be nice if we could just have a world with normal carbon levels covered with beautiful trees? Personally I would rather look at a beautiful oak or maple rather than a cloud of smog. So, in conclusion, we can all try to help, plant a tree.