Bed 2nd Year What do you mean by Deforestation
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Meaning and Definition of Deforestation
Deforestation is a result of human activity. Man is destroying the forests, vegetation, and grasslands for obtaining timber, fibre, and wood, and also to use the land for agricultural, industrial, and tourism purposes. As a result of deforestation, certain varieties of birds, insects, snakes, tigers, and deers lost their habitat and migrated to other places. In addition to this cutting down of plants or forests result in soil erosion, climate change floods, and drought. Ultimately it disturbs the ecological balance and brings environmental changes. (Bed 2nd Year What do you mean by Deforestation)
The forests play a significant role in maintaining the ecological balance. Deforestation or destruction of forests changes surface, air temperature, moisture content, and rainfall reflectivity. Conversion of forest to grassland or agricultural land increase surface temperature and raises air temperature and therefore increases the water holding capacity of the warmer air. Deforestation increases the greenhouse effect. The rapid oxidation of soil organic matter is also promoted. Deforestation is the loss of a major part of the biological diversity of the earth. About 30 percent of the earth’s surface is covered by forests. Deforestation is also one of the important causes to the environment. (Bed 2nd Year What do you mean by Deforestation)
The rapid expansion or increase of population has generated the need for more agricultural production and expanded the requirement for fuel and commercial wood and grazing land. The forests maintain the oxygen and carbon balance on earth. Deforestation raises regional temperature which extends the dry season not only regional but also at the global level. Thus, it causes climatic change in the environment. (Bed 2nd Year What do you mean by Deforestation)
The forecasts have various protective and productive functions for human beings and their conservation is essential for the survival of mankind. The misuse of the forests has also resulted in many environmental changes and problems.
Deforestation is not responsible for environmental changes but also for historical, cultural, social, and economic change. It degrades the quality of the environment. (Bed 2nd Year What do you mean by Deforestation)
The rate of soil erosion depends on deforestation and the pressure of population, arable land, crop rotation, land management, etc. Soil erosion not only affects the areas from which the forests have been removed but also affects the environment. It is, therefore essential to employ remedial measures to protect the forests and combat soil erosion so that ecological balance can be maintained and resulting problems can also be avoided in future human life. (Bed 2nd Year What do you mean by Deforestation)
Deforestation has immediate adverse effects on soils and land because of exposure of the ground surface to high-intensity rainfall.
It is a matter of serious concern that the present economic man has forgotten the environmental and ecological importance of natural vegetation mainly forests and grasslands and has ruined the forests so rapidly and alarmingly that the forests areas at regional global, and local levels have so markedly decreased that many serious environmental problems such as accelerated rate of soil loss through sheet wash, rain splash, rill, and gully erosion, increase in the frequency and dimension of floods, greater incidence of drought due to fall in precipitation, etc. have plagued the modern human society.
Causes of Deforestation
The major causes of deforestation at global and regional levels are:
1. Conversion of Forest Land into Agricultural Land. Increasing population growth at a fast rate mainly in the developing countries has put enormous pressure on forested land because it became essential to obvious the virgin forest covers and convert them into agricultural land so that agricultural production may be substantially increased and food may be provided to the hungry human population. (Bed 2nd Year What do you mean by Deforestation)
2. Shifting or Jhuming Cultivation is a major cause of forest loss in the hilly and mountainous regions of south and southeast Asia. The loss of virgin forest cover due to shifting cultivation is increasing every year in the different parts of India.
3. Transformation of Forests into Pastures has been responsible in order to the rapid rate of loss of virgin forests in the Mediterranean and temperate regions mainly in North America, South America, and Africa. The main factor behind the large-scale conversion of woodland into pasture land is expanding dairy farming and cattle ranching in order to meat.
Extensive areas of original forest stand in the New England region, Michigan, and mountainous states of the Western U.S.A., Canada, South American nations, and African savannas have been converted into pasture in order to cattle ranching.
4. Overgrazing of forests of moderate cover by animals mainly in the tropical and subtropical and arid and semi-arid areas has resulted in large-scale degradation of natural vegetation if not the complete destruction of forests. The deforested areas have been the worst affected by grazing animals because no fresh regeneration of plants has been allowed by large herds of grazing animals.
5. Forest Fires whether natural or man-made are effective destroyers of forest covers. Atmospheric lighting is the major source of natural forest fires. Moreover, man causes forest fires through his intentional/advertent and unintentional actions. He burns forests and grasses next season. The herdsman also throws burning ‘bidies’ inadvertently which causes forest fires.
Moreover, raining vegetations and forest fires harden the ground surface which decreases the porosity of the soil, and consequently, there is little infiltration of rainwater. Thus most of the rainwater becomes effective surface run-off which accelerates the rate of soil erosion. (Bed 2nd Year What do you mean by Deforestation)
Secondly, the frequent forest fires rain the leaf litters on the ground and thus the soil nutrients and humus contents are markedly reduced and sometimes are completely destroyed. Thus, forest fires not only destroy natural vegetation and retard and taboo regeneration of trees but also cause tremendous damage to the biological communities and thus cause ecological imbalance.
6. Lumbering for domestic and commercial purposes is the real cause of the large-scale destruction of forest covers. Ever increasing demand for timber for various purposes due to industrial expansion, urban growth, and rapidly increasing human population has done great damage to natural forest covers all over the world. Collection of fodder and firewood from rural populations from the depleted and poor forest covers mostly in the developing countries has further degenerated already impoverished forest covers.
The reckless felling of trees from the very beginning of the present century without caring for environmental and ecological consequences and without having any plan for replantation to assure regeneration of forests has depleted the resources to such an extent that the possible gruesome consequence of deforestation is looming large over the human society all over the globe and even the existence of human beings stands threatened. (Bed 2nd Year What do you mean by Deforestation)
This colossal loss of precious ecological resources despite the guidelines issued by the Government of India that forest area should not be converted into other forms of land uses and in case of any inescapable diversion it should be done with the concurrence of the states and the loss of forests the adequately compensated by providing, as far as possible, equivalent alternative land in order to afforestation and reforestation, obviously indicates the noncompliance of the government directives by the government officials and greedy and selfish contractors. In collusion and connivance with the government officials in India.
The private contractors and many developing and even a few developed capitalist countries have done great damage to the natural forest covers through reckless felling of trees for their limited economic gain at the cost of national interest.
In place of the provision of Forest Policy in force since 1894 and implementation of National Forest Policy since 1952 and despite the guidelines issued through the Union Government of India for not diverting the forest area to non-forestry uses there has been a remarkable loss of 91,70,000 hectares of good forest area in India between 1972 and 1980. The local people mainly Indian aborigines have raised their arms against the destruction of forests because their habitats, livelihood, and even their existence have been threatened. (Bed 2nd Year What do you mean by Deforestation)
7. Multi-Purpose River Projects require larger areas to be submerged for the storage of a huge volume of water in the reservoirs constructed behind the dams. Thus submergence of forested river rain areas completely destroys the natural forests. It is feared that the storage of millions of acre-feet of water in the reservoirs behind the Tehri Dam will submerge hundreds of square kilometers of forested land which will destroy rich forest cover and displace local inhabitants.
The Tehri Dam Project on the headwaters of the Ganga and Narmada River Project in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, India, is under serious public protests. Tehri Dam on the headwaters of the sacred Ganga River, in Garhwal Himalaya, Uttaranchal, India, is meant to generate hydroelectricity to meet the growing demand for power in Uttaranchal Pradesh and adjoining states and the Union Territory of Delhi but its construction is frequently stopped because of protest by noted environmentalist and Chipko Movement leader. Mr. Sunder Lal Bahuguna. (Bed 2nd Year What do you mean by Deforestation)
It is believed that in case of a sudden breach in Tehri Dam major cities on either side of the Ganga in its downstream section in the alluvial plant of Uttar Pradesh will be submerged within 72 hours. Similarly, there is a strong protest from the general public to abandon, the proposed projects of Sardar Sarovar and Indira Sagar on the Narmada river in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, India. The ecologists believe that the submergence of thousands of square kilometers of areas will destroy regional forest covers and animal communities and thus will cause serious environmental and ecological problems.
8. Biological Factors application of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides in the agricultural fields nearer to the forests has driven out microorganisms such as insects and termites towards the adjoining forests where these cause serious damage to the plants. These help in destroying the natural vegetation. Conversion of forest areas into agricultural farms has resulted in marked shrinkage in the forest covers and thus tremendous pressure of animals on existing forests.
Adverse Effects of Deforestation on the Environment
As already stated forests are a natural umbrella in order to ground surface because they protect the ground surface from erosion due to decreasing raindrops and control the radiation balance of the earth and the atmosphere by consuming an increased amount of carbon dioxide released from ever-increasing “human volcanoes’ (chimneys of the factories) and thus prevent the earth from becoming too hot. Removal of forest cover exposes the ground surface to the atmospheric processes.
On the other hand, deforestation exposes the ground surface to falling raindrops with full kinetic energy. This results in maximum erosion of soils because the infiltration of rainwater is markedly reduced and surface run-off is increased.
The accelerated rate of soil erosion through rain splash, rain wash and sheet wash, drill, and gully erosion consequent upon deforestation increases the sediment load of the rivers. (Bed 2nd Year What do you mean by Deforestation)
It is supposed that a decrease in vegetation cover mainly forest cover reduces precipitation but no significant studies at global and regional levels have demonstrated and decrease in the amount of average annual precipitation.
It is, thus, obvious that deforestation increases the greenhouse effect on the atmosphere which raises the temperature of the earth’s surface and the atmosphere. (Bed 2nd Year What do you mean by Deforestation)
Increased rate of soil erosion caused due to deforestation results in colossal loss of fertile top soils and agricultural land which ultimately causes a marked reduction in agricultural production. The development of a circuitous network of a dense mesh of gullies ranging in depth from a few meters to 80 m., has rendered a vast expanse, of agricultural and forest land into waste land on the one hand and has deprived millions of people of their livelihood on the other hand.
The zig-zag network of deep gullies of the river line tracts of the Yamuna, the Chambal, the Betwa rivers, etc. (Fatehpur, Etawa, Agra, Banda, Jhansi, Jalaun districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bhind, Morena, Gwalior, Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur districts of Madhya Pradesh, India) offers an easy and safe shelter to dacoits and bandits. (Bed 2nd Year What do you mean by Deforestation)