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Deforestation: Meaning, cause and it’s link to climate change and global warming – India Today

As concerns about the planet’s future deepen, scientists, warn that deforestation, and the growth of its causes, is contributing to the worsening of climate change’s worst effects. According to the United Nations, between 1990 and 2020, the globe lost a net area of 178 million hectares of forest – roughly the size of Libya.

Forests are home to nearly 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and over 60,000 tree species, therefore preserving them has never been more critical.

DEFORESTATION MEANING:

The intentional removal of forests by human or natural forces is referred to as deforestation.

Traditionally, the practice has been used to clear woodland and forests to make room for livestock grazing areas or urbanisation and the expansion of housing buildings.

However, natural phenomena such as forest fires, which can erupt and rampage across dry forests and landscapes at times of excessive heat, drought, or lightning, can cause deforestation.

However, with the expansion of mining and logging in the latter part of the twentieth century, new causes and motivations for deforestation appeared and accelerated, with the percentage of the world’s publicly owned forest ecosystems falling since 1990.

While the rate of deforestation has slowed in recent years, deforestation in some extremely valued forest and rainforest areas, such as the Amazon, has continued apace.

A report by the Brazilian space research organisation Inpe found a 22% increase in deforestation in the Amazon between 2020 and 2021, while world leaders met in Glasgow in November 2021 to commit to ceasing deforestation by 2030.

DEFORESTATION CAUSES:

Expanding agricultural production to provide more room for valuable crops and allow cattle to graze is one of the leading causes of deforestation.

Habitats have been destroyed and significant amounts of forest cleared in the Amazon and other dense rainforest areas to make way for palm oil extraction.

Other factors include mining, illicit logging and wood extraction, and urbanisation, which has resulted in the clearing of vast swaths of forest to make way for expanding populations and infrastructure.

LINK TO CLIMATE CHANGE AND GLOBAL WARMING:

For decades, scientists and climate experts have been concerned about the impact of deforestation on the globe and its long-term viability, with forests playing a critical role in guaranteeing the planet’s life by absorbing both carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases.

However, when forests and trees are destroyed or burned, the carbon they store is released back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, which fewer trees and forests will be able to absorb as carbon dioxide production rises.

This will simply exacerbate the greenhouse gas effect and accelerate the process of global warming, hastening climate change.

Deforestation in tropical countries had previously been placed third in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, behind China and the United States, according to the World Resources Institute.

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