• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8
  9. 9
    9
  10. 10
    10
  11. 11
    11

Describe and explain the long-term effects of large-scale deforestation on the earth's atmosphere.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Summer Holiday Prep

A2 / Human Biology

Task 1

Describe and explain the long-term effects of large-scale deforestation on the earth’s atmosphere.

In this essay I am going to explain and describe the long-term effects of deforestation on the earths atmosphere. I must include these key points.

  • Sustainable resources
  • Greenhouse gases
  • The Greenhouse effect
  • Erosion of soil
  • Leaching of soil
  • Desertification
  • And diversity of species.

The clearing of tropical forests has been occurring worldwide on a large-scale basis for many centuries. This process, known as deforestation, involves the cutting down, burning, and damaging of forests. The loss of tropical rain forest is more profound than merely destruction of beautiful areas. If the current rate of deforestation continues, the world’s rain forests will vanish within 100 years-causing unknown effects on global climate and eliminating the majority of plant and animal species on the planet.

Why Deforestation Happens

There are many ways and reasons for deforestation. Most of the clearing is done for agricultural purposes-grazing cattle, planting crops. area (typically a few acres) and burn the tree trunks-a process called Slash and Burn agriculture. This process is called subsistence farming. It is continually occurring, as the tropical rain forest soil is actually low in nutrience; this is because the trees and plants use all of the nutrience. This means that the cleared area will only last for one crop (season) and will then be infertile. And the farmer has to move on to another ‘patch. Charities and various organisations are trying to re-educate the subsistence farmers in the rain forest as a way of trying to stop this process from happening. (See diagrams below)

image02.png

image03.jpgimage04.jpgimage05.jpg

Slash and burn farming, tree cutting, and destructive environmental practices are all linked to the economic plight of the rural population.

...read more.

Middle

The much smaller region of Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam) lost nearly as much forest per year as the Brazilian Amazon from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, with 4800 square miles per year converted to agriculture or cut for timber.

Deforestation and the Hydrologic Cycle

Tropical deforestation also affects the local climate of an area by reducing the evaporative cooling that takes place from both soil and plant life. As trees and plants are cleared away, the moist canopy of the tropical rain forest quickly diminishes. Recent research suggests that about half of the precipitation that falls in a tropical rain forest is a result of its moist, green canopy. Evaporation and evapotranspiration processes from the trees and plants return large quantities of water to the local atmosphere, promoting the formation of clouds and precipitation. Less evaporation means that more of the Sun’s energy is able to warm the surface and, consequently, the air above, leading to a rise in temperatures.

Deforestation and the Global Carbon Cycle

Deforestation causes an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other trace gases in the atmosphere. The plants and soil of tropical forests hold 460-575 billion metric tons of carbon worldwide with each acre of tropical forest storing about 180 metric tons of carbon. When a forest is cut and burned to establish cropland and pastures, the carbon that was stored in the tree trunks (wood is about 50% carbon) joins with oxygen and is released into the atmosphere as CO2.

The loss of forests has a profound effect on the global carbon cycle. From 1850 to 1990, deforestation worldwide (including the United States) released 122 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere, with the current rate being approximately 1.6 billion metric tons per year.

...read more.

Conclusion

The deforestation not only ruins the precious rain forest it also contributes to the current greenhouse effect, which is plaguing the planets atmosphere. This ‘greenhouse effect’ basically is the way in which the suns radiation is unable to leave the atmosphere, the major greenhouse gases are Nitrogen (N), Carbon dioxide (CO2) and Water (H2O), these gases are responsible for the major heat change in the atmosphere. In the early 90’s CFC’s were also partially to blame. These have been banned in many countries now. Water is the major problem which we have there is too much condensation which causes clouds this then reflects much of the suns radiation back down to the earths surface. If there was no water in the atmosphere the earths temperature would be –18 degrees centigrade.

Deforestation also affects the land it is taking place on, with no trees the precipitation (rain) is able to fall directly on to the soil, this causes leaching and erosion of the soil and both these mean that the nutrience is deplenished or removed from the soil. Thus meaning that there is not enough nutrience to sustain vegetation. This in turn causes a process called desertification to occur, this is the complete drying out of the soil and thus making it desert like…nothing is able to grow. Therefore the Antarctic can technically be called a desert.

Although deforestation mainly affects plant life it does have a substantial effect on wildlife too. By cutting down trees and plants many species become extinct cause less diversity of species so fewer ‘new animals’ can be breed. This would technically mean that Darwin’s theory of evolution is being compromised by deforestation.

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Earth and Beyond section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE The Earth and Beyond essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    My project this year is based on the solar system. In my project I ...

    4 star(s)

    It is a cold planet, surrounded by thin ring shaped bands of dust. Jupiter is the fourth brightest object in the sky (after the Sun, Moon and Venus). It has also been known since prehistoric times. Jupiter is the first of the gas planets.

  2. "The Impact of Deforestation on Global Warming"

    If there are additional greenhouse gases, there will be a gradual increase in temperature on Earth's surface. This could lead to changes in weather patterns, sea levels, and other cycles in nature that directly affect life on Earth. The process of greenhouse gas increase is quite simple.

  1. Should We Persue Manned Space Flights?

    However, once the gores are opened all the way, the joint cannot be bent anymore without a considerable amount of work. Date Place Deaths Kind of disaster May 17 1930 Berlin, Germany 1 Max Valier killed by rocket engine explosion.

  2. Greenhouse Effect.

    the future, research institutes use climate modelling to simulate the climate and oceans over many decades. So far model simulations point to global temperature rises of approximately 3 degree C in the next 100 years, which doesn't sound much. Consider however that the difference between average global temperatures now and the last ice age (not strictly correct but sounds better!)

  1. Global Warming Our planet's atmosphere traps energy just like a greenhouse. Energy from the ...

    These are sometimes called greenhouse gases. The main ones are carbon dioxide, methane, CFCs and nitrous oxide. Sunlight reaches the Earth's surface, is reflected off it, and is prevented from escaping from the atmosphere by this layer of gases, which acts like glass in a greenhouse.

  2. Would Using alternative sources or energy dramatically reduce the need to burn fossil fuels ...

    Reducing deforestation will also enhance Earth's defence mechanism against pollutants, multiplying the amounts of trace radicals and increasing the Earth's chance to stabilize the atmosphere in the long run. Alternative sources of energy Fossil fuels are a reliable source of energy however they cause damage to the atmosphere and will be exhausted in the future.

  1. The Sun, the largest fusion reactor in the Solar System, but for how long?

    The simplest route involves only three steps (A-B-C) Two protons combine to give a deuterium nucleus (a proton and a neutron), which emits a positron and a neutrino (A); the deuterium then combines with a proton yielding a nucleus of helium-3 which emits a photon (B); finally the Helium-3 nucleus

  2. How construction and the built environment can both benefit and harm the natural environment

    We are now seeing vast areas of land in flood plains submerged every winter, forming huge temporary lakes. Town planners in years gone by couldn't have foreseen that the very methods of draining our roads and streets that they pioneered are now a contributing factor to the problem of flooding,

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work