Delainey Root, MVC Writer

Deforestation stands as one of the largest issues in the use of land. Trees are being cut down at alarming rates. Trees are a crucial part of human life on Earth, so people cutting down these trees has an impact on the environment. Deforestation is the removal of trees. 

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) found that about 1.4 million square km was the annual rate of deforestation. About 2,000 years ago, 80 percent of Western Europe was covered in an abundance of forests; now that number has dropped to a measly 34 percent. The FAO also says that the world has lost about a billion acres of forest since 1990.

 A majority of Earth’s farmlands started out as forests and were converted into farms. The slash and burn method of farming is a huge part of deforestation. This method consists of a farmer burning large amounts of trees and using the created ash as fertilizer for future crops. The biggest problem with this method is that the land only stays fertile for a couple of years. After their time is up, the farmers move to another area of forest and burn down more trees to get one or two more years of crops. This creates a cycle of deforestation. 

The loss of trees has a huge effect on the environment. Trees take in carbon dioxide that humans breathe out and convert it into oxygen. When trees are removed, less carbon dioxide is absorbed and it is instead sent into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is one of the most prolific greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are gases that trap heat in the atmosphere and are to blame for the steady heating up of the world, also known as global warming.

 Deforestation also leads to a decrease in world biodiversity, or the variety of life living in the world. Trees provide shelter and food for many species of animals and types of plants.

 Mr. Zelencik, a science teacher at Mt. Vernon High School, stated, “Deforestation is certainly affecting the biodiversity of the world. As we lose habitats, we run the risk of losing species.

Without trees, there is also an increase in soil erosion and flooding. Trees retain water by taking it in through their roots and holding in their leaves. Trees then provide nutrients to the soil. Without these forests, soil erodes away. The eroded land is then more susceptible to flooding as a result. 

Though there are many groups working on the conservation of trees; there is still an abundance of trees being cut down. Deforestation is a huge problem, but fewer people cutting down trees and more planting them can lead to a bright and greener tomorrow.