Deforestation: Erosion Effects on Soil

Deforestation, a word in its entirety correlates directly to harmful destruction to the forest ecosystem, is something that has and is contributing to global warming and land-use change. The act in itself entirely alters the land that is receiving all the destruction by changing the entire environment. The land, once a luscious green forest with trees over so many hundreds of years old, is transformed and altered into barren land, useless for containing almost any Co2. The trees,which once served as a converter for C02 in the air into Oxygen in which we humans breathe, are no more. All that is left, mostly shrubbery or low lying plants, will most likely be burned to make way for agricultural/grazing purposes.

Historically, deforestation in the Amazon rain forest is directly related to land change for agriculture/grazing purposes for cattle, misguided government policies, inappropriate World Bank Projects, and/or commercial exploitation of natural resources.  People destruct the forest for all sorts of reasons, some looking for gains in modern medicine, others looking to use to wood for interest in gaining money.  Either way you look at it the destruction of our natural forests comes from some source of greed and the want for something more.  Most of humankind is out to benefit themselves, selfishly making decisions that effect those around them and future generations and doing so knowingly.

What kind of world to we live in where  the good of the earth is being ravished for the benefit of few.  Claims have been made by various organizations that are out to rid this world of deforestation, that deforestation has been linked to the economy.  In Brazil for example, from 1988-1991 the decline in deforestation went hand in hand with the role of the economy at the time, declining.  And during periods of reasonable to good economic status, the deforestation rates increased from 1993-1998 as more people had more money to invest in prospering themselves.

What many of these people fail to understand is that there greedy practices are not what is best for the rest of the globe as well as for the earth.  It may be beneficial for some time.  But, as that land lays barren after the deforestation process, heavy rainfall can come to had devastating effects on soil erosion.  Not only does erosion add disturbing problems to ecosystems, but biodiversity of all sorts of organisms will be jeopardized as land is ripped up beneath their very feet.  Tropical rain forests make up some 6% of the worlds land but contain over 70% of the world’s species, damaging the forest alters the natural flow of cycles between food and energy chains.

As mentioned by Dr. Pillar in class, these forests appearance of lush soil is misleading from the above ground prospective.  We see all these beautiful trees, shrubs, and grasses and immediately assume the soil is fertile when in fact the soil is very infertile most of the time in the tropics.  What fertility does lie within the soil is usually washed away and the soil is left to bake in the ever so energetic heat of the sun.  Currently, 80% of the worlds tropic soils remain infertile and very acidic due to selfish and idiotic practices involving destruction.  Something must be implemented to alter or fix this cycle of mismanaged land use treatment.

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