Trees are essential to our well being, our way of life. We rely on them in so many ways. Yet, it seems like there are less and less of them every year. They veritably disappear, without so much as a trace of what was left behind. The thought that this many trees could be lost so soon is not only surprising, but scary. Whether we realize it or not, our species and others depend largely on the oxygen, nutrients, and homes they provide. Even so, Deforestation still happens all around the world, so what exactly is it?
The dictionary definition of Deforestation is, “The clearing of trees, or transforming a forest into cleared land” (https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/deforestation). Yet, this definition does not truly describe the terrible effect that deforestation has on the environment. Not only are trees a vital source of oxygen, but they provide homes for millions of different species of animals. Some of these animals, like the Koala, require about a hundred trees of natural space for their habitats. Their food (eucalyptus leaves) can only be found on trees, and just like many animals, they start to die off when large amounts of these trees are cut down. This problem has already emerged in Australia; the reintroduction of the Koala species after being hunted in the 1920s has been problematic. Because of deforestation in the area, Koala’s don’t have enough trees to properly thrive. Their resources are limited, their space is limited, and thus the population remains limited. And the problem only increases, because as of now, deforestation in the area, and around the world, shows no signs of stopping.
A main cause of deforestation lies in agricultural efforts. Many farmers cut down trees so they will have more space to plant their crops. This might not sound so bad. After all, they’re planting more plants as their crops right? And while this is true, it still poses a huge problem. Farm crops like fruits and vegetables cannot produce nearly as much oxygen as trees do. Not only this, but the animals who live in trees need them specifically because of their height, shape, and resources they provide. Crops planted in farms provide none of these for the animals who need them the most, and this is where the problem emerges. What’s worse: it isn’t just individual farmers that cause deforestation. In fact, the largest contributors are some of the most popular companies we know today.
Many companies use palm oils in their products. They are used in deodorants, ice cream, face creams, and much, much more. However, the need for palm oil is not the problem, it’s how it’s obtained. As of now, Palm oil production companies clear forests or carbon-rich peat lands (areas with lots of decomposed vegetable matter) to create plantations and gather resources. They don’t use more sustainable methods because nobody demands they do. As with most problems we face today, it’s only there because it’s cheaper than any more sustainable alternatives. These companies use terrible methods to produce their oil, yet they still receive funding from fast food companies and other popular users of palm oil. If these popular companies were to demand that the palm oil makers had to use sustainable methods, it would force their hand, and help to limit the amount of deforestation we see today. However, deforestation isn’t just caused by big businesses or farmers, it’s also made by the poor economic status many countries, including the U.S, face today.
Illegal logging, or logging in violation of national laws, has an extreme affect, not only on deforestation, but on the world’s economy in general. What’s ironic is that it originated to help boost the economy, and yet it remains as a force that only keeps driving the economy downhill. What happens is that, when illegal trees are smuggled to various countries that by them, the governments watching over the countries that illegally log lose out from taxes and costs to manage legal logging. Many illegal loggers don’t pay their taxes, and this makes other loggers want to follow the same suit to save money. It’s a terrible cycle that only leads to a decrease in money for both sides. Governments are not funded through taxes the way they should be, and the people who do the illegal logging only destroy their own communities. And even so, these illegal loggers continue to be funded by companies they outsource to, especially in the U.S.
It’s clear that, like the other problems that have been previously discussed on this website, illegal logging is a problem that needs to be solved. We need to implement a way that can stop the unsustainable production of palm oil, and illegal logging, so that our beloved forests can continue to thrive. We may soon see the disappearance of forests worldwide, unless we do something to stop it. Thanks for reading
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