Trees give out oxygen, even because we have the rains. In short, they maintain the ecological balance. If we cut trees, what is going to happen is that the population won’t stop growing, but oxygen in the atmosphere will reduce. Another effect can be a scarcity of food. And many other problems are attached to it, such as less rain will result in less water for irrigation. Less water for irrigation would result in less harvest, which would again lead to less food and if this continues to happen for a long period of time, then it might lead to famine type situations.
Trees have to breathe to live, the same as us and every living thing on the planet. They breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. We breathe out carbon dioxide and breathe in oxygen. We’ve evolved around trees; they are the main things that give off oxygen. Without trees, we’re not here. Cutting down trees takes away that oxygen. Suppose you cut down a tree but plant two new ones that are fine. Trees are living things too.
The most important thing is, trees are necessary for rain. Trees create a cold and humid atmosphere required for rain. Second, when it rains, trees hold the water and do not allow it to pass over the soil, which avoids floods. Third, they provide food to all living things.
What Is Deforestation?
Deforestation is the clearing, destroying, or otherwise removal of trees through deliberate, natural, or accidental means. It can occur in any area densely populated by trees and other plant life, but the majority of it is currently happening in the Amazon rainforest.
The loss of trees and other vegetation can cause climate change, desertification, soil erosion, fewer crops, flooding, increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and a host of problems for indigenous people.
Deforestation occurs for a number of reasons, including farming, with 80% of deforestation resulting from extensive cattle ranching and logging for materials and development. It has been happening for thousands of years, arguably since man began converting from hunter/gatherer to agriculturally based societies and required larger, unobstructed tracks of land to accommodate cattle, crops, and housing. It was only after the onset of the modern era that it became an epidemic.
Environmental Effects of Deforestation From Above
Loss of Habitat
One of the most dangerous and unsettling effects of deforestation is the loss of animal and plant species due to their loss of habitat. 70% of land animals and plant species live in forests. Not only does deforestation threaten species known to us, but also those unknown.
The trees of the rainforest that provide shelter for some species also provide the canopy that regulates the temperature. Deforestation results in a more drastic temperature variation from day to night, much like a desert, which could prove fatal for many inhabitants.
Increased Greenhouse Gases
In addition to the loss of habitat, the lack of trees also allows a greater amount of greenhouse gases to be released into the atmosphere. Healthy forests absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, acting as valuable carbon sinks. Deforested areas lose that ability and release more carbon.
Water in the Atmosphere
The trees also help control the level of water in the atmosphere by helping to regulate the water cycle. In deforested areas, there is less water in the air to be returned to the soil. This then causes dryer soil and the inability to grow crops.
Why Are Forests So Important?
They cover 30% of the planet’s land surface, and they’re fundamental for the quality of the air we breathe, 20% of which comes from the Amazonian rainforest. Forests are also crucial for the quality of the rivers’ waters that cities directly or indirectly consume and for the regulation of the water cycle. They also play a key role in fighting climate change as they soak up and store CO2 into their biomass, preventing it from going to the atmosphere. In fact, protecting forests has the power to help us fulfil the Paris Agreement by 37%, the Scientific American says.
But there’s more. Way more. Forests help minimize the impacts of storms and floods by controlling soil erosion as tree roots make the soil stronger. 80% of the world’s biodiversity can be found in forests. And we should really thank this incredible biodiversity for enabling human developments in areas such as healthcare, pharmaceutics and, more recently, for inspiring the eco-design of products as we learn from nature’s best practices.
And have you ever imagined how life without forests would be? Not only for the over 1 billion people who live in or close to forests and need it to survive but also for the ones living in cities and urban areas. We take and transform forests’ raw materials like wood and timber and use them on several commodities from toilet paper, napkins, corks or notebooks to heavier items like tables, chairs or simple wood for burning. And, of course: avocados, açai, cacao, coffee, mangos, you name it – they all come from forests.
Why Do Forests Need Our Protection And Help?
The equivalent to 1 football pitch of forest is lost every second. Annually, WWF estimates that around 8 million hectares of forest are lost, and as a result, 17% of the Amazonian forest has been lost over the last 50 years, together with other forestal areas in Indonesia or Congo. And it’s not only trees – plants, animals, and insect species are disappearing every day at an alarming speed, which can mean the loss of 10,000 – 100,000 species/year, putting the Earth’s balance at risk. Furthermore, the loss of forests also contributes between 12% and 17% to the annual global GHG emissions. But what is causing all this?
Indirectly, probably you or someone you know – representing the side of demand. Directly, the extractive, transformative and consumer goods companies – which represent the side of supply. The truth is that businesses have been expanding the dimension of farmlands and ranchlands, the latter spending huge amounts of water and responsible for the release of greenhouse gases (a topic for another discussion). Other commodities such as palm oil, corn or soy also take a lot of land space and are sometimes associated with deforestation (often done by trees that are illegally cut down or by causing fires), just like mine explorations and urbanization.
But it’s not just about vegetables, meat, earth minerals or buildings. It also about the energy we spend in cities. In one way, the sustainability of the biofuels coming from agricultural crops (of palm oil, sugarcane or corn) and used in fossil fuels remains a very controversial question. And the fact is that a lot of the energy consumed in developing countries (for cooking, heating or transportation) can be traced back to forests in the form of charcoal, wood, residuals, pellets, oils, sugar and starch crops and others.
10 Essential Ways Trees Help Our Planet
Trees are like the planet’s lungs. They’re taking in carbon dioxide and breathing out oxygen. In addition, they provide shelter for birds and other wildlife.
We also hear that trees are good for the environment and that deforestation, on the other hand, is bad for the planet. Most people, however, wonder if trees can help the environment. Here are just a few examples that trees are a ‘green’ part of our world.
Trees provide food in the form of fruit, nuts, leaves, bark and roots. Dead trees, too, provide shelter and food for many insects. Papaya, mangoes, bananas, coconuts, cashews, apples and more have come from trees. Beyond these nutritious and delicious vegetables, some of our favourite spices come from different parts of trees, including cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves.
Here are a few reasons to plant more trees.
Trees provide food
Papaya, mangoes, oranges, limes, lemons, peaches, coconuts, cashews, apples and more come from trees. Beyond these nutritious and delicious fruits, some of our favourite spices also come from various parts of trees, including cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves. Trees are also the source of almonds, walnuts, pecans, and cashews too! Finally, but certainly important, trees bring us chocolate (cocoa) and maple syrup.
Trees protect the land.
Trees protect the Earth from soil erosion, fires, flooding, and wind. Forest Garden farmers use trees as fences, windbreaks, and barriers. They use a living fence technique which has proven especially useful in providing in creating a green wall to improve their soil, provide a boundary, keep livestock out, and absorb and redirect heavy rains.
Trees help us breathe.
Trees produce oxygen and clean carbon dioxide out of the air we breathe. Without trees, life could not continue. Trees have also proved to remove airborne particles from the air and reduce smog, thereby improving the air we breathe, and therefore, our respiratory health. The work trees do in improving the air quality is one of the most critical ways in which we benefit from trees.
Trees provide shelter and shade.
On a hot day, nothing is better than the shade of an old tree with an expansive canopy. Under a tree is often the location of Forest Garden farmer meetings and training. Trees act as nature’s air conditioner and help slow water evaporation from the soil. Did you know that the evaporation from one tree can produce the cooling effect of ten room-size air conditioners running all day!
Trees are a natural playground.
Where there is no playground, a tree provides a great place to climb and explore. This is particularly exciting in a world where technology can consume people’s attention. . Children can develop gross motor skills and learn to take risks while climbing trees. Adults can climb for fitness and strength building. Felled trees can become balance beams and a tall tree can provide a good hideout or lookout during playtime.
Trees encourage biodiversity
Many birds, animals, and insects call trees home. The various levels and canopies of trees provide a habitat to a diverse array of wildlife from the lower levels up to the very high canopies. Forest Garden farmers often also often use trees as a place to build hives to bring bees to their land to assist in pollination and to collect honey. We are currently losing species at an alarming rate, so the space for biodiversity is critical as it helps keep our planet thriving.
Trees provide sustainable wood.
While alternative energy is ideal, the reality is that much of the world relies on wood to cook meals and boil water for purification. Where we work in Africa, approximately 80% of households rely on fuelwood and charcoal. While it can be argued that growing trees for fuel or wood competes with food production, in the Forest Garden model, the two can coexist and complement one another. This way, farmers are not increasing deforestation by cutting in the ancient forests. They can grow fast-growing timber trees on their plot in a sustainable way.
Trees conserve water
Trees help filter and retain water in the soil. Trees not only improve water quality they also prevent stormwater and flooding issues that can occur. The roots break up the soil to allow for the recharge of water tables.
Trees improve mental health.
Being among trees has real health benefits. Studies show that even looking at trees can calm us. The Japanese even have a word for this: Shirin-you, or forest bathing. Spending time in the forest is known to reduce stress, anger, and feelings of depression. While in English, we do not have a specific word to express this experience, we do know that people who live in more densely wooded areas, even in urban settings with tree-lined streets, report better health than those who live in areas with sparse trees. The effects are not simply felt. They can even be measured by slowed heartbeats, lower blood pressure, and altered brain waves.
And there is so much more!
Trees have proven to be a source of medicines, foods, and materials, improving our planet and lives in immeasurable ways. We are constantly discovering new ways that trees can benefit us. Research is uncovering complex and beneficial ways in which trees improve our planet and our lives. Without trees, we have no future.