OSEA Safety Blog

Impacts of Deforestation

Thursday, November 14, 2019 Amanda Coniglio

With an increase in forest fires, mass tree death due to various insects, and other natural causes of tree death, deforestation is becoming a prominent and concerning issue. Deforestation not only affects us humans, but it also has a huge impact on wildlife and whole ecosystems.

Deforestation can include the permanent removal of trees for agriculture, timber, or construction. It’s currently estimated that every second, a chunk of forest equivalent to the size of a soccer field is lost worldwide (theguardian.com). Why is this so concerning? Trees are not only absorbing carbon dioxide thus mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, but most of the Earth’s freshwater comes from forested watersheds; they control erosion and provide homes to a wide array of other plants, animals, and microbes.

With invasive insects and diseases killing enough trees, in the US alone, each year to release an estimated 6 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere and drastic increases in devastating forest fires, it’s imperative that we do not take deforestation lightly and begin taking measures to protect one of our most valuable resources (nbcnews.com). One important alternative to deforestation is to adopt and encourage sustainable farming practices (a major reason for clearing large areas of land is to create grazing areas for livestock). Other ways we can offset the effects of deforestation is to replant trees in cleared areas/or allow those areas to naturally regenerate, buy only certified wood products, go paperless whenever possible, limit our consumption of products, and -- perhaps the easiest and most important – plant a tree or 2!

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