A global climatic change is commonly referred to as global warming. It involves the scope and pace at which a number of both physical and chemical changes take place in the world altering the nature from its original state to a hazardous condition.
This degradation in the physical environment has been suggested by numerous scientists to be caused by different factors including carbon monoxide emissions (CO2 gases), some greenhouse gases and many other. Patricia Campbell, MacKinnon and Stevens (125) argue that the greenhouse gases are released as a result of human, industrial and land usage activities, for instance, in a process of deforestation, etc.
The greenhouse gases from such emissions play a key role in the depletion of the most essential ozone layer, thereby increasing the solar heating effect on the adjacent Earth’s surface as well as the rate of sun’s radiation on the atmosphere, hence leading to global warming. Most of the greenhouse gases are poisonous to humans and other forms of life on the earth; these are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), methane, aerosols, sulphur dioxide, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), carbon monoxide and others.
In spite of being poisonous, these gases have always acted as buffers by absorbing the sun’s heat and preserving it to increase the impact of global warming on the earth’s atmosphere. The global warming effect is a catastrophe that has led to decreased levels of agricultural productivity and scorching of human skin.
Global warming is on the rise nowadays due to wanton deforestation activities of humans causing widespread levels of desertification and aridity all over the globe.
Regardless of the importance of forests and other vegetations in controlling the high rates of global warming and rainfall formation, it seems that humans have decided to destroy their natural ecosystems and habitats through chopping trees for timbers, charcoal and furniture. In fact, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the rate of global deforestation grew at an alarming rate between 2000 and 2005.
The report added that the reasons for global deforestation activities ranged from land clearing for agricultural purposes, building of new houses, commercial logging and timber to creating space for commercial developments, plants, etc. The study also recorded that up to 53,000 square miles occupied by the tropical rain forest were shattered yearly beginning with the 1980s (Honey 14). Discussed below are some of the harmful effects of deforestation on the rate of global climatic changes.
The emission and formation of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas in the atmosphere has been largely linked to the wanton destruction of trees and vegetation in regard to the fact that trees and greenery are responsible for the “consumption” or intake of the excess carbon dioxide gas released from animals as metabolic wastes; hence, when the forests are cut down (due to deforestation activities), CO2 gas accumulates in the atmosphere to trap and store solar heat and radiations.
Some trees, especially in tropical rain forests, assist in reducing the rates of water evaporative cooling by forming canopies that cover and protect the underlying vegetation from direct excess solar heat, hence always keeping the greenery and soils wet, thereby increasing the levels of atmospheric moisture.
Forests and other vast vegetations also act as water catchments by raising a region’s humidity levels and causing rainfalls, for instance, tropical rains. Due to the interconnectivities in tropical ecosystems, the effect of deforestation always spreads and extends to very large areas from the exact point of deforestation.
The destruction of trees results into devastation of natural habitats for the millions of other plants and animals, especially small insects and birds that also play major roles in soil formation and trees pollination respectively. In fact, to some greater extent, deforestation leads to outbreaks of communicable diseases, e.g. malaria, in regard that logging roads from deforestation activities always act as disease carriers.
For instance, Peru experienced high cases of malaria attacks of up to 64,000 cases in 2007 due to accumulation of pools of water in the holes left by logging roads allowing the growth of increased number mosquitoes, which transmit malaria through their bites. Moreover, extreme logging leads to an increased level of contraction of the human immunodeficiency viruses (HIVs) from bushmeat in tropical zones (White 21).
Deforestation activities make humans very vulnerable to natural calamities, such as aridity, desertification due to the tendency of creation of bare lands from deforestation, soil erosion and mass flows in mountainous regions.
These factors play key roles in the global climatic changes and patterns; for example, aridity is a disaster that leaves soils bare exposing them to the adverse effects of the solar heating and radiation. Another calamity of massive mudslides befell Philippines and Indonesia hitting their major towns and causing a lot of havoc due to deforestation (Driml & Common 4).
In fact, according to the United Nations Statistics, the economic benefits of the deforestation are emphasized in the following ways. It is said that the forests act as sources of food, medicine and fuel to about 1.6 billion people in the entire globe. The scientists also found that up to about 2/3 of animal species lived in the woods, hence they acted as habitats for many animals and plants. The analysis also reported that deforestation caused up to about 20 percent of the yearly greenhouse gases emissions in the 1990s.
Campbell, Patricia, MacKinnon, Aran and Christy Stevens. An Introduction to Global Studies. United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. Print.
Driml, Sally and Mick Common. Ecological Economics Criteria for Sustainable Tourism: Application to the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics World Heritage Areas, Australia. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 4.1(1996): 3-16.
Honey, Martha. Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who owns Paradise? Washington, DC: Island Press, 1998. Print.
White, Lynsey. The Need for Effective Partnerships to Address the Bushmeat Trade. Washington: Integrating Conservation & Development in Central Africa, n.d. library.conservation.org. Web. 11 Apr. 2012.