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What are the local and global consequences of deforestation?

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Introduction

What are the local and global consequences of deforestation? Deforestation is the felling and clearance of forest land, so that it can be used for other uses. It is proceeding at about 17 million hectares each year worldwide. Forests cover about a quarter of the total land surface of the Earth. The reduction in area of this valuable environmental, social and economic resource through deforestation has potential to cause problems both on a global as well as a local scale. Some of the local effects of deforestation include the loss of wildlife. Many birds, insects, reptiles and animals rely upon trees for food or shelter. They die or are forced to move away if their habitat is destroyed. Furthermore, deforestation has caused the Elimination of Indian groups and their way of life. Estimates suggest that 96 per cent of forest Indians have died since the arrival of Europeans in the sixteenth century. The majority died from Western illnesses to which they had no immunity (e.g. measles and influenza). Those remaining have been driven from their homes by the construction of roads, mines, reservoirs and cattle ranches. ...read more.

Middle

Many have abandoned their new farms and moved to urban shanty settlements. In spite of this, deforestation has also caused many local benefits such as the fact that more jobs are available like mining, logging and tourism and resettlements provide better quality of life for people living in urban shanty towns. Moreover, most rainforests are located in LEDCs, like Brazil and Indonesia, which means money earned from export of timber and ores will increase GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and lead to economic and social development and improve quality of life. There are also many global effects of deforestation like the loss of medicine. Over half of our modern medicines come from the rainforests. These include painkillers and quinine (used to treat malaria). Recently one plant, a periwinkle, has proved successful in treating child leukaemia. Perhaps the rainforests may hold cures for cancer and AIDS. Deforestation may prevent the discovery of new plants with possible medical value. Forests absorb a lot of sunlight for photosynthesis, and only about 12 to 15% is reflected. The large amounts of energy absorbed by forests acts to stimulate convection currents in air which enhance the production of rainfall. ...read more.

Conclusion

Some of the benefits include the fact that there are more jobs provided which effectively means more money for the country. This in turn is used to help improve the quality of life of everyone. It also allows more people to resettle which gives a healthier live for people living in urban shanty towns. However, there are more problems with deforestation than benefits like the elimination of traditional groups and their way of life, loss of wildlife and prevention of medicines being discovered. In addition to this, deforestation causes soil erosion and more severe and frequent floods, more carbon dioxide that would result in global warming and climatic change and finally a decrease in the production of hardwood. The fact that more human activities involve giving off carbon dioxide and there are fewer trees to produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, means that there is a strong possibility that there is going to be a short supply of oxygen. Furthermore, our rainforests could even turn into 'deserts' as a consequence of a decrease in water vapour because of the greatly reduced number of trees. In order to prevent such drastic consequences we need to manage the rainforest in a sustainable way and use our natural resources more effectively. Sean De Souza 9S ...read more.

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