In the words of the World Wide Fund (perhaps better known as WWF), “the importance of forests cannot be underestimated”. While many
of us do not live as closely with the forest as our ancestors
the forest still touches our lives in profound ways every
day. From the air we breathe… to the fruits we eat… to the
we write notes to loved ones on, the forest is an integral part of our existence. Whether we recognize it or not.
But, of course, it’s not only humans who rely so heavily upon the forest. The Amazon Rainforest
covers more than 2 million square miles of South America
and is home
to 10% of all of the world’s best-known species. There are more than
1,500 species of birds, 40,000 plant species, and a
million insect species. It is an incredibly dense and diverse
ecosystem. Its existence is important to humans, animals, and plants all around the globe.
So what happens when we enter
“The Lungs of the World” and unsustainably cut down trees?
Most people would assume that the major reason for
logging. However, this isn’t true. The most prominent reason for deforestation and forest degradation is one of the oldest
traditions: agriculture. We cut down trees to make room for
crops and livestock. But when it is done unsustainably,
there are terrible consequences.
To understand how deforestation negatively affects climate
let’s first take a look at the opposite of unstainable forestry; sustainable forestry.
In the most basic sense, sustainable forestry is the practice
replacing what we cut down. It is a carefully supervised
When loggers fell a tree to be processed for wood, furniture, or
paper, the tree is then replaced with a seedling. Only trees of a
certain maturity are able to be cut down, as to not disturb the life
cycle. Seedlings are grown in greenhouses, and when they reach a
certain level of maturity, they are transferred to the forest
they will provide homes for animals, oxygen for the
world, and eventually more wood for humans.
If you’ve been reading our previous blog posts, you know
are naturally great at storing carbon. When forests are
this stored carbon is released into the atmosphere, mostly as carbon dioxide. Not good!
According to the Climate Council, deforestation “accounts for around 18% of all global greenhouse
gas emissions due to human activities – this is more than global
emissions from transport”. In fact, deforestation is the second leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions.
The unethical foresting of trees is also a big contributor to the
rising global climate. This is because there is so much more water in the atmosphere.
Studies have shown
that the amount of water in the atmosphere increased by
due to deforestation, which is actively increasing the
temperature of the Earth.
It has also been seen that cutting down our forests without
replacing them is making the ocean more acidic. This is
caused by an
increase in the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. As well as the
burning of fossil fuels by the machines used to cut the trees down.
This has extremely negative affects on marine life
as well. An increase in the ocean’s pH levels can
reproduction, growth, and chemical communication in the lives of marine animals.
Unsustainable forestry actively takes away from the
nearly a third of the world’s human population. Of course,
are not the only ones affected.
There are an estimated
2 million species
of animals on the Earth, and experts calculate that each year we
lose between .1% and .01% of those species to extinction.
That means there are an estimated 200-2,000 species that go extinct
each year. That is a horrifically high number compared to the
natural extinction rate
which is estimated to be between 1 and 5 species each year.
Forests currently cover about 30%
of the Earth’s surface. However, if we don’t make efforts
reducing deforestation, there will be no more forests on Earth in 100 years. If you find this to be extremely concerning, you’re not alone.
Increasingly, we see people standing up for the health and
livelihood of the Earth and all of its citizens. You can take
in the paper products you support and the companies you
Don’t purchase products with palm oil, as this is almost
harvested unsustainably. Reduce the number of paper
products you use in your personal life,
and recycle whatever you do use.
Also, help to support the reforestation effort
in any way you can.
Plant a garden in your neighborhood, send money to
organizations like the
National Forests. And of course, you can think about
subscribing to our
monthly service and know that you are literally putting trees back in the ground!