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Deforestation: meaning, cause and link to climate change and global warming

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As concerns about the future of the planet intensify, scientists warn that deforestation and the growth of its causes are contributing to worsening the worst effects of climate change. 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 almost 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and more than 60,000 tree species, so their preservation has never been more critical.

DEFORESTATION MEANING:

The intentional removal of forests by human or natural forces is called deforestation.

Traditionally, the practice has been used to clear woods and forests to make way for cattle grazing areas or for urbanization and expansion of residential buildings.

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

However, with the expansion of mining and logging in the latter part of the 20th century, new causes and motivations for deforestation have emerged and accelerated, with the percentage of the world’s public forest ecosystems declining since 1990.

While the rate of deforestation has slowed in recent years, deforestation in some highly prized forest and wetland areas, such as the Amazon, has continued apace.

A report by Brazilian space research organization Inpe found a 22% increase in deforestation in the Amazon between 2020 and 2021, as world leaders gathered in Glasgow in November 2021 to pledge to stop deforestation in 2030.

DEFORESTATION CAUSES:

The expansion of agricultural production to make more room for valuable crops and to allow livestock to graze is one of the main causes of deforestation.

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

Other factors include illegal mining, logging and timber extraction, as well as urbanization, which has led to the clearing of large tracts of forest to make way for expanding populations and infrastructure. .

LINK TO CLIMATE CHANGE AND GLOBAL WARMING:

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

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

This will only exacerbate the greenhouse effect and accelerate the process of global warming, thus accelerating climate change.

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

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