What You Didn’t Know About Deforestation and Climate Change

Over thirty percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in forests which are currently being systematically cut down by man. This systematic removal of the planets trees comes as a direct result of the growing human population. In order to make room for agricultural fields the forests are being simply cut down or burned without even using many of the trees for industry. The scariest part is that if global deforestation trends do not change there will be no rainforests on the planet in 100 years.

These figures are absolutely appalling, considering that we are currently in a battle against climate change which becomes only accelerated by the removal of forests. Forest act as one of the planets primary carbon sinks, or areas where more carbon is removed than produced. Earth has two primary carbon sinks, one is forests the other is the ocean. If you have just some degree of knowledge and you have been paying any attention in basic biology, you know that through the process of respiration trees literally inhale CO2 while exhaling oxygen  which is nearly the exact opposite process as humans. This means that when humans burn fossil fuels and generate greenhouse gases such as CO2 the forests of the world attempt to help us out by removing what they can from the atmosphere.

In the United States there are currently enough forests to offset about 13 percent of the country’s current carbon emissions. The Amazon Rainforest, often referred to as the Earths lungs can no longer keep up with today’s carbon output. Deforestation of the rainforest along with never slowing CO2 emissions has turned this life giving carbon sink into a carbon neutral forest as of 2010. This means that this system now produces as much carbon as it takes in due directly to the deforestation driven by agricultural demand. As the forests are unable to remove enough carbon and the global temperature begins to rise the effects of climate on all life will become more pronounced. Less rainfall and long term droughts increase the instances of wildfire which remove more precious acres of forested area as well as releases even more CO2 into the atmosphere, which continues the negative feedback loop.

It’s not all doom and gloom and there are ways that you can get involved and help curb this planetary fumble. One of which is getting involved with groups that advocate against mass deforestation. Groups such as the World Wildlife Fund are constantly raising money and advocating policy change in many of the controversial environmental arenas. Other than donating your time or money to one of these advocacy organizations it is possible to do your part by consciously consuming less wood products. If enough people can band together and focus their attention on a single issue it is possible to make positive change in a senseless world.

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