The risks of deforestation

Deforestation is largely due to the expansion of villages, towns and agricultural land, the use of wood for construction and economic activities.

Many consequences 

Deforestation has many consequences on the soil, fauna and flora. Deforestation is conducive to soil erosion and desertification. The soil becomes less fertile and can no longer feed all the living organisms (plants, trees, flowers, etc.). 
Without the tree roots, the soil erodes and landslides become more frequent in hilly areas. 
Furthermore, it is the forest environment that houses and feeds most living things (birds, insects, fungi). So felling a tree is not just a matter of removing the tree itself but also destroying an entire habitat for a multitude of organisms living around its roots and in its trunk and foliage.

Reduced water resources and landslides

Tree roots hold most of the rain water they intercept. Plunging deep into the soil, tree roots create a network that stabilises the land and holds it on the hills. The absence of trees promotes landslides and mudflows.  These can be very hazardous to villages lying in their paths.
Furthermore, the presence of trees on agricultural parcels protects crops.
When it rains very heavily, the rain falls first onto the leaves of trees, then drops fall gradually onto the crops. This prevents the crops from being damaged.

Soil depletion

When the trees have been removed from an area, rain water descends very quickly from the hills taking with it all the nutrients contained in the soil. These nutrients feed all the other plants. If they disappear, no plants will grow in the area.

Climate change, drought and more sever natural disasters

Forest absorbs light, whereas bare soil reflects the sun’s energy back into the atmosphere. The average temperature locally can increase by more than 10°C. This local warming changes the movement of air masses and storm cells. Rainfall cycles are therefore changed, causing drought and abnormal flooding. Mangroves, along the coast, form an effective barrier against cyclones, hurricanes and tsunamis. These protect other coastal species and also seaside villages.

 

See more lessons

 

 

To go further...

Rewind