Nature is beautiful, but it is also a source of benefits that we are not always aware of. Indeed, forests not only have the role of fighting against global warming, they provide us with food, medicine, soil fertilization, filling groundwater, etc.
We know that 80% of the biodiversity on earth has found refuge there. Man uses a multitude of forest-related products in his daily life: paper, packaging, fuel, meat, oil, etc. Yet today our consumption indirectly weighs heavily on this plant environment.
Sometimes, even if we don’t see it with our own eyes, some of our practices threaten these environments. The main threat is deforestation, which continues to reduce the surface area of forests on Earth over time.
Since always, who says deforestation says increase in human density. Man becoming sedentary experienced agricultural needs, heating or building materials that have only increased over time. Today, it is the tropical forests that suffer the most: the Amazon, Equatorial Africa and Southeast Asia alone account for 53% of global deforestation.
In the 1990s, forests covered about 31.8% of the world’s land area. Today they represent only about 30.8%, most of which are extremely fragile.
Every year, logging for heating, agriculture or paper production contributes nearly $600 billion to global GDP.
Here are the main causes of global deforestation:
– Agriculture, through small farmers wishing to gain plots of land or larger exporters growing soybeans and oil palms;
– Oil and mining exploitation which is very intensive in forest land, involving the poisoning of land and water by heavy metals due to the extraction;
– The timber market, in particular because of urbanization (represents only a very small part);
– The artificialization of forests, before animals and forests stretched as far as the eye can see, unlike today where there are more and more hydroelectric dams, fragmented wooded areas and transport infrastructure or extraction;
– Civil wars, these are mostly uncontrolled deforestation because these regions are not “monitored”, allowing the illegal timber trade to become an important source of funding.
Forests are full of a multitude of species: mammals, birds, insects, plants, etc.
Today, more than 1.6 billion people depend directly or indirectly on forests for their livelihood, which represents more than 21% of the global population.
Here are the main consequences of deforestation:
– The decline of natural habitats, implying that certain species are threatened with extinction or victims of poaching when they change habitat.
– Increased exposure to diseases, in particular through the decline of forests;
– The increase in natural disasters, because the ground becomes unstable and is less protected from bad weather;
– Disruption of the water cycle, when forests draw water with their roots to filter water and build groundwater that will be used by humans (drinking water). But deforestation leads to soil erosion and baring, then drying out and exposure to contaminants of all kinds, affecting the quality of water in groundwater;
– The worsening of global warming, with the non-containment of CO2 by forests causing an increase in temperatures and the release of ever more gases into the atmosphere;
– Changes in rainfall, where in tropical forests, water vapor and rainfall regulate biodiversity. Today, deforestation clearly alters atmospheric pressure.
The main countries concerned by the practice of deforestation are: Brazil, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Ghana and Haiti.
In 2020, more than 100 countries committed to the goal of “zero deforestation” by 2030 by signing an agreement at COP26 in Glasgow.