Deforestation as an environmental problem: consequences and solutions

— Updated:
Deforestation as an environmental problem: consequences and solutions

Forest expanses seem almost limitless. But even on such a scale, a person in the process of economic activity manages to inflict damage on them.

Deforestation for the purpose of harvesting timber in some places is becoming widespread. Such intensive and unreasonable use gradually leads to the fact that the forest fund begins to be depleted. This is noticeable even in the taiga zone.

The rapid destruction of forests leads to the disappearance of unique flora and fauna, as well as to the deterioration of the ecological situation. This is especially true for the composition of the air.

Main causes of deforestation

Among the main reasons for deforestation, first of all, it is worth noting the possibility of its use as a building material. Also, very often, forests are cut down for the purpose of building or using land for agricultural land.

Green hydrogen – the energy source of the future?
Green hydrogen – the energy source of the future?

This problem became especially acute at the beginning of the 19th century. With the development of science and technology, most of the felling work began to be done by machines. This made it possible to significantly increase productivity, and, accordingly, the number of cut down trees.

Another reason for massive logging is the creation of pastures for farm animals. This problem is especially relevant in tropical forests. On average, grazing one cow will require 1 hectare of pasture, which is several hundred trees.

Why should forest areas be preserved? What causes deforestation

The forest area is not only trees and shrubs and herbs, it is also hundreds of different living beings. Deforestation is one of the most common environmental problems. With the destruction of trees in the biogeocenosis system, the ecological balance is disturbed.

Uncontrolled destruction of forests leads to the following negative consequences:

  1. Some species of flora and fauna disappear.
  2. Species diversity is decreasing.
  3. Carbon dioxide begins to rise in the atmosphere.
  4. Soil erosion occurs, which leads to the formation of deserts.
  5. In places with a high level of groundwater, waterlogging begins.
Interesting! More than half of all forest areas are tropical forests. At the same time, about 90% of all known animals and plants live in them.

Statistics on deforestation in the world and in Russia

Deforestation is a global problem. It is relevant not only not for Russia, but also for a number of other countries. According to deforestation statistics, about 200,000 km2 of forests are cut down worldwide every year. This leads to the death of tens of thousands of animals.

Why the sky is blue?
Why the sky is blue?

If we consider data in thousand hectares for individual countries, they will look like this:

  1. Russia – 4.139;
  2. Canada – 2.45;
  3. Brazil – 2.15;
  4. US – 1.73;
  5. Indonesia – 1.6.

The problem of deforestation is least affected by China, Argentina and Malaysia. On average, about 20 hectares of forest plantations are destroyed in one minute on the planet. This problem is especially acute for the tropical zone. For example, in India, over 50 years, the area covered with forests has decreased by more than 2 times.

In Brazil, large areas of forest have been cleared for development purposes. Because of this, the populations of some animal species have been greatly reduced. Africa accounts for approximately 17% of the world’s forest stock. In terms of ha, this is about 767 million. According to the latest data, about 3 million hectares are cut down here annually. Over 70% of Africa’s forests have been destroyed in recent centuries.

The logging statistics in Russia are also disappointing. Especially a lot of coniferous trees are destroyed in our country. Mass cutting in Siberia and the Urals contributed to the formation of a large number of wetlands. It should be noted that most of the cuttings are illegal.

Forest groups

All forests on the territory of Russia can be classified into 3 groups according to their environmental and economic value:

  1. This group includes plantations that have a water protection and protective function. For example, these can be forest belts along the banks of water bodies or wooded areas on mountain slopes. This group also includes forests that perform a sanitary-hygienic and health-improving function, national reserves and parks, natural monuments. The forests of the first group account for 17% of the total forest area.
  2. The second group includes plantations in areas with high population density and a well-developed transport network. This also includes forests with an insufficient forest resource base. The second group accounts for about 7%.
  3. The largest group, its share in the forest fund accounts for 75%. This category includes plantings for operational purposes. Due to them, the needs for wood are satisfied.
Utopia is the perfect place that doesn’t exist
Utopia is the perfect place that doesn’t exist

The division of forests into groups is described in more detail in the Fundamentals of Forest Legislation.

Types of clearings

Wood harvesting can be carried out in all forest groups without exception. In this case, all cuttings are divided into 2 types:

  • main use;
  • care.

Final fellings

Final fellings are carried out only in plantations that have reached the ripening period. They are divided into the following types:

  1. Solid. With this type of felling, everything is cut down except for the undergrowth. They are carried out in one go. The restriction on their holding is imposed in forests of conservation and ecological importance, as well as in reserves and parks.
  2. Gradual. In this type of felling, the forest stand is removed in several steps. In this case, first of all, trees are cut down that interfere with the further development of the young, damaged and diseased. Usually 6 to 9 years pass between the stages of this felling. In the first step, about 35% of the total forest stand is removed. At the same time, overmature trees make up the bulk.
  3. Selective. Their main purpose is the formation of highly productive plantations. During them, diseased, dead, windbreak and other inferior trees are cut down. All care cuttings are divided into the following types: clarification, cleaning, thinning and passing. Depending on the condition of the forest, thinning may be continuous.

Legal and illegal logging

All deforestation works are strictly regulated by Russian legislation. At the same time, the most important document is the “Cutting ticket”. The following documents will be required for its registration:

  1. A statement indicating the reason for the felling.
  2. Plan of the area with the allocation of the area allocated for felling.
  3. Taxation description of cut plantations.

A felling ticket will also be required when exporting already harvested wood. Its price is proportional to the cost of compensation for the use of natural resources. Cutting down trees without proper documentation is classified as illegal logging.

Consequences of deforestation

The effects of deforestation are a far-reaching problem. Deforestation affects the entire ecosystem. This is especially true for the problem of purification and saturation of air with oxygen.

Everest – interesting facts about the top of the world
Everest – interesting facts about the top of the world

Also, according to recent studies, it has been found that mass felling contributes to global warming. This is due to the carbon cycle occurring on the surface of the Earth. At the same time, one should not forget about the water cycle in nature. Trees take an active part in it. By absorbing moisture with their roots, they evaporate it into the atmosphere.

Erosion of soil layers is another problem that accompanies the problem of deforestation. Tree roots prevent erosion and weathering of the upper fertile soil layers. In the absence of a tree stand, winds and precipitation begin to destroy the upper humus layer, thereby turning fertile lands into a lifeless desert.

The problem of deforestation and ways to solve it

Tree planting is one way to solve the problem of deforestation. But she cannot fully compensate for the damage done. The approach to this problem must be comprehensive. To do this, you must adhere to the following directions:

  1. Plan forest management.
  2. Strengthen the protection and control of the use of natural resources.
  3. Develop a system for monitoring and accounting for the forest fund.
  4. Improve forest legislation.

In most cases, planting trees does not cover the damage. For example, in South America and Africa, despite all the measures taken, the forest area continues to decline inexorably. Therefore, to reduce the negative consequences of logging, it is necessary to take a whole range of additional measures:

  1. Increase planting area annually.
  2. Create protected areas with a special forest management regime.
  3. Dedicate significant forces to prevent forest fires.
  4. Introduce wood recycling.

Global fight against deforestation

The policy of forest protection in different countries can differ significantly. Someone introduces a restriction on the use, and someone simply increases the volume of restoration plantings. But Norway has developed a completely new approach to this problem. She plans to completely abandon logging.

Globalization: Causes, Consequences, Problems, Role in the World Economy
Globalization: Causes, Consequences, Problems, Role in the World Economy

This country has officially announced that the policy of the so-called “zero deforestation” will be implemented on its territory. Over the years, Norway has actively supported various forest protection programs. For example, in 2015, it allocated 1 billion rubles to Brazil for the conservation of the Amazon rainforest. Investments from Norway and a number of other countries have helped to reduce logging by 75%.

From 2011 to 2015, the Norwegian government allocated 250 million rubles to another tropical country – Guyana. And since this year, Norway has officially declared “zero tolerance” for logging. That is, it will no longer purchase forest products.

Ecologists say that paper can also be produced by recycling the corresponding waste. And other resources can be used as fuel and building materials. The State Pension Fund of Norway responded to this statement by withdrawing from its portfolio all shares of enterprises associated with damage to the forest fund.

According to the Wildlife Fund, every minute forests with an area comparable to the area of ​​48 football fields disappear from the Earth’s surface. At the same time, the emission of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming is also significantly increased.