What Are the Biggest Environmental Concerns? - Deforestation
Oct 25 2018
Forests and wooded areas cover around 31% of our planet and are vital for our survival and wellbeing. Producing oxygen, providing homes for much of the world’s wildlife and offering food, water and medicine are just some of the benefits of abundant forests. At the moment, however, we're not doing enough to protect this vital resource.
As part of our 6-part series into the most prominent environmental concerns for 2019, we’re going to take a look at the drastic impact deforestation has on our environment.
What causes deforestation?
According to the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO), an estimated 18 million acres of forest are lost every year. In the last 2 decades alone, Afghanistan has lost over 70% of its forests.
But what can be done to stop this damaging trend? There are a multitude of reasons that deforestation is increasing and occurring across the globe. Reducing even a few of the main culprits can make a huge difference to the planet.
Although the production and trade of timber products are regulated by national laws, people and companies are often violating these laws. Whether taking wood from protected areas, harvesting protected species or taking more than is permitted, illegal logging is a key contributor to the increase in deforestation.
Harvesting timber for commercial use
Many of the items we use everyday come from the trees in our forests. The paper we write on, the desks we work on and even the containers we eat from are all made from timber harvested from forests around the world. Making slight changes, such as using less paper, can all make a difference.
Why is deforestation an environmental concern?
Forests are much more than an area of beauty and nature. They are also home to much of the earth’s wildlife and ecosystems. Without forests, we would lose a huge part of the world’s biodiversity, that could impact life both locally and globally.
Trees and plants produce oxygen and mitigate carbon dioxide. So, when they are cut or burned, the plants can become carbon sources, contributing to around 15% of greenhouse gas emissions, which is a key factor in global warming.
What can you do to help?
So, assuming you’re not an illegal logger or harvesting timber for production purposes, you may be wondering what you can do to reduce deforestation. Although the biggest difference comes from large, multinational corporations, there are a few things individuals can do that could make a big difference…
- Buying more recycled and organic products
- Reducing meat intake
- Using electric or gas fires, rather than wood burners
Of course, it’s not just deforestation that poses a threat to the environment. Take a look at our next post on pollution to find out more about the biggest environmental concerns of 2019.
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