Deforestation and Climate Change: Serious Consequences for the World

Deforestation and climate change are very closely linked, mainly because one leads to another.

Deforestation, also known as the practice of cutting down forests, is one of the leading factors to the problem of man-made climate change.

Currently, forests cover about 30% of our planet's landmass.

Deforestation contributes a lot to greenhouse gas emissions. Worse still, it causes climate change in several different ways.

Deforestation

From 2015 to 2017, on average, the global loss of tropical forests had contributed approximately 4.8 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, which amounts to about 8 to 10 percent of annual emissions of carbon dioxide by mankind (Source).

Believe it or not, the globe loses more than 7,000 square meters of tree cover each second, which is roughly equivalent to one soccer field. In 2018, our planet lost enough trees to cover an area larger than the United Kingdom, which is about 24.8 million hectares. Nearly half of those come from tropical forests, which are vital for biodiversity (Source).

Another critical point is that forest degradation does not only affect developing nations. In fact, in 2018, 39% of tree-cover loss occurred in Canada, Russia, and the United States (Source).

From Years of Living Dangerously

Less Carbon Dioxide is Absorbed

The most apparent way that deforestation leads to an increased rate of global warming is the weakening of the Earth's ability to get rid of greenhouse gasses.

Carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change, traps heat inside the Earth's atmosphere.

Trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen during the photosynthesis process.

Without lots of trees to combat the increasing levels of carbon dioxide, climate change will continue at a faster pace. Basically, trees act as a carbon sink, which means they absorb carbon dioxide during their lifetime. Later, when trees die, they release carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. 

Deforestation for oil palm plantation in Indonesia

Slash-and-Burn Tactics

Moreover, most deforestation occurs due to slash-and-burn tactics. Slash-and-burn deforestation has been known for decades as one of the most environmentally harmful practices in terms of forest clearing.

Why?

This is because trees are approximately 50% carbon. And, carbon, when burned in our atmosphere, turns into carbon dioxide – more commonly known as smoke.

As previously described, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. Thousands of acres of forest are burned away each year, adding yet another contributing factor to the massive, potentially extinction-causing problem of climate change.

Illegal slash and burn practice in Madagascar

Why Deforestation Occurs

The reason why deforestation occurs is also a significant contributor to climate change.

Deforestation can occur for more roadways and cities, which entails more greenhouse gas emissions from cars, trucks, and industrial machinery.

Deforestation also occurs to clear space for more agricultural farms. At first glance, this is good news, since all plants have the process of photosynthesis.

However, the number of plants that are created in farming will not produce as much oxygen compared to the number of trees that were there.

Moreover, the use of fertilizers, agricultural machines, and similar tools cause more pollution, which in turn increases the output of greenhouse gasses.

More than half of all deforestation is caused by farming, grazing of livestock, mining, and drilling (Source).

Jungles and forests often get burned for agriculture

Often Preventable

As alarming as all of this is, it gets even worse.

The climate change that is caused by deforestation is often preventable.

More often than not, we don't need to cut down forests to live our lives the way that we currently do.

Even when we do need to cut down trees, there are ways to lessen the damage that we do to our planet.

The deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest can be seen from satellites

Solutions for Deforestation and Climate Change

We can plant a tree for every tree that has been cut down. Harder punishments could be doled out to those who practice slash-and-burn forest clearing.

And, if we as a world we all band together to tackle the problem of deforestation and climate change, we can help build a more sustainable future for our descendants.

It's important to note that nearly 250 million people live in forest and savanna areas and depend on them for subsistence and income. A large portion of these people is among the world's rural poor. Also, 80% of our planet's land animals and plants live in forests (Source).

We need to protect our forests for the livelihood of plants, humans, and animals.

Stopping deforestation is crucial in the fight against climate change because forests play a vital role in regulating the Earth's climate. Trees absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, acting as significant carbon sinks that help mitigate the greenhouse effect. When forests are destroyed, not only is this carbon storage capacity lost, but the carbon stored in trees is also released back into the atmosphere, exacerbating global warming. Additionally, forests support biodiversity, protect water cycles, and prevent soil erosion, which are all essential for maintaining ecological balance. By halting deforestation, we can preserve these critical ecosystems, reduce carbon emissions, and enhance our planet's resilience to climate change. Protecting forests is an urgent and effective strategy for securing a sustainable future for all.

Deforestation

Further Reading and Sources

From TED - Ideas Worth Spreading


Aerial View of Deforestation

Join the Community and Newsletter (5000 Subscribers)

You can subscribe to my Substack Page or see the archives of previous posts. More great content coming soon!

Go Solar!

If you live in the United States and want to go solar, now is your chance! Visit Powur

Also, more importantly, you could become an ambassador for Powur and earn $1000 per successful referral. This is a fantastic opportunity to help the environment by helping your bottom line.

You even have the opportunity to become a solar professional, which takes it a step further. Do this if you want to really work in the solar industry. After going through a training, you can earn on average between $2000 to $4000 USD per panel installed. You don't have to be an American to be a solar professional for Powur, but it makes it a lot easier.

Powur Image 2

Recent Articles

  1. 8 Steps to Launching a Green Building Business

    Jul 10, 24 09:13 PM

    Have you been thinking about starting your own green building business? If so, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll go over everything
  2. Schedule an Appointment

    Jun 30, 24 12:03 PM

    Schedule an Appointment
    You can schedule an appointment to become a solar professional or ambassador with Powur.
  3. Climate Change Guide

    Jun 23, 24 09:42 AM

    The Climate Change Guide is your guide to a more sustainable future, and will provide you with all relevant information on mankind's greatest challenge.
  4. Powur

    Jun 21, 24 12:59 PM

Powur - Solar Power at your Fingertips

Earn $1000 per referral by becoming an ambassador for Powur, a great solar power company in the United States.

If you become an ambassador for solar power, you have three incredible incentives:

  • Help yourself by earning $1000 each time you successfully refer someone to solar
  • Help create a better world for the next generation
  • Help fund the Climate Change Guide, which will continue to spread awareness about climate change. We have been spreading awareness since 2011 to millions of people from nearly 200 countries.

Moreover, you can become a solar professional like me by joining Powur. Take your Powur back!

Powur Image 1