The Ecological Challenges Facing Humanity

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The modern technology landscape faces a plethora of environmental problems that have an effect on humanity’s health and way of life. Because of urbanization and industrialization, the landscape has changed dramatically. In the twenty-first century, environmental concerns have grown into a global concern. Humans live in a world that is no longer peaceful or secure. Global warming and climate change are the two most serious environmental issues confronting mankind. Pollution, ozone layer depletion, acid rain, garbage burning, population sprawl, drought, and desertification are all causes of problems (Dixon et al. 2013). Pollution of productive soils, water, and air is visible in daily life. Although deforestation has been an aspect of human history for a long, it is closely associated with climate change and global warming. In the U.S indigenous forest have been destroyed since 1600 to create room for industrialization. The global forests not only acts as carbon dioxide sinks but also uploads oxygen into the atmosphere. Deforestation reduces the capacity of the carbon dioxide sink and this disrupts the carbon cycle. Besides, logging trees interrupt the hydro-cycle. The trees emit water vapor into the atmosphere that regulates the global climate. Disruption of the water recycles results in unpredictable changes in the global community. Lastly, deforestation is the major factor behind the decline of the species diversity. Deforestation deprives the indigenous fauna and flora their native habitats resulting to extinction.

Environmental Impacts of Deforestation

The carbon cycle is vital for the sustenance of numerous earth functions. Carbon is not only present in living things, but it is also a major component of several minerals such as diamond and graphite. The carbon is in abundant in all components of the world that include the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. Carbon cycle describes the ways in which carbon moves between the reservoirs of carbon along with the proportion of the carbon present in each component. The logging of trees particularly in the tropical forests have altered the carbon cycle. Trees help in maintaining equilibrium between the oxygen and carbon dioxide gasses through their utilization of carbon dioxide in photosynthesis (Moran, ss2016). Besides, forests act as agents of the carbon cycle since they move carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and stores it in the roots, branches as well as the trunk of trees. The carbon remains in the trees until they rot or are burnt. Therefore, forests act as storage sinks in the carbon cycle by keeping great amounts of carbon from the atmosphere along with managing and controlling the greenhouse effect. Deforestations results to the destruction of the carbon storages and this causes accumulation of carbon dioxide in the air. Carbon dioxide causes global warming by capturing the infrared heat that rises from the earth’s surface. The destruction of forests depresses the ability of the earth to eliminate carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and this causes an increase of the greenhouse gasses.

The hydrological cycle is a complex system that maintains a continuous circulation of water below and above the surface of the earth. Balance in the water cycle is vital for the well-being of all living things on the earth. Disruption of the hydrological cycle results in global changes such as climate change and the disruption of the state of all living things. Destruction of trees disrupts the water cycle. Trees and plays play a significant role in maintaining the hydro-cycle. They extract groundwater from the soil and return it to the atmosphere. Large amounts of water that circulates in the ecosystem of the rainforests are stored in plants and are released into the atmosphere through transpiration. Therefore, deforestation affects the balance of the hydrological cycle. Additionally, organic residue from trees and leaf litters increases the capacity of the soil to store water by providing a ground covering. Trees control the amount of water available in the soil as groundwater and the atmosphere. Deforested areas lack the capacity to retain moisture in the atmosphere as well as in the ground eventually leading to desertification. Forests trap the rainwater and allow it to percolate gradually into the soil and eventually into the groundwater system. Deforestation leads to dangerous flash floods since there are no trees to trap the water. The water is lost through run-off into the oceans instead being reabsorbed by the trees and released back into the atmosphere.

Deforestation not only causes climatic changes but also affects the plants and animals that live in the forests. Tropical forests along with coral leaf are among the most endangered ecosystem on the earth. Destruction of tropical forests results in substantial loss of the biodiversity since it destroys the natural habitat of flora and fauna (Jepma, 2014). Additionally, deforestation destroys the natural habitat by separating the contiguous areas of the tropical forests from each other though exposing living organisms living in the deep forests to the edge effects and interfering with the plant production. Logging of trees exposes the small plants that depend on the canopy trees for moisture vanish, shade and support. When the forests are destroyed, the animals that depend on the forests for shelter, breeding sites, water and food disappear. The smaller animals die while the larger ones migrate to other forest areas where they can survive. Small plants in deforested areas cannot pollinate since there are no agents of pollination. If pollination occurs by chance, the seeds fall in unsuitable areas where they cannot survive. Also, the species in the tropical forests are restricted to areas, and in case the forests are destroyed, the species are destroyed. When plants and animals die or become extinct due to deforestation, the biodiversity of the deforested area decreases.

Conclusion

The ecological challenges that affect humanity have resulted from urbanization and desertification. Human beings have destroyed the forest to more room for settlement and agricultural land. Deforestation affects not only the climate but also the diversity of species. The greatest loss from the destruction of tropical forests is the mass extinction of species that contribute to the diversity of the earth. The effects of deforestation of the rainforests are devastating, and they include social, environmental and economic effects (Hansen et al. 2013). Deforestation is a global concern and needs to be addressed before the effects become more devastating. The solutions for deforestation include creating awareness campaigns to the society on the importance of forests. Besides, forest conservation efforts will also curb destruction. Establishment of afforestation and reforestation projects will also help in re-establishing the deforested areas. The society should also be encouraged to recycle forest products to avoid logging of trees. Conclusively, conservation of forests will prevent the hazardous effects of global warming and climate change.

References

Dixon, J., Scura, L., Carpenter, R., & Sherman, P. (2013). Economic analysis of environmental impacts. Routledge.

Hansen, M. C., Potapov, P. V., Moore, R., Hancher, M., Turubanova, S. A., Tyukavina, A., & Kommareddy, A. (2013). High-resolution global maps of 21st-century forest cover change. Science, 342(6160), 850-853.

Jepma, C. J. (2014). Tropical deforestation: a socio-economic approach. Routledge.

Moran, E. F. (2016). People and nature: an introduction to human ecological relations. John Wiley & Sons.

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