Deforestation

1213 Words May 8th, 2013 5 Pages
CONSEQUENCES OF DEFORESTATION

In some cases, deforestation can be beneficial. Given the right mix of social needs, economic opportunities, and environmental conditions, it can be a rational conversion from one type of land use to a more productive one. The tragedy lies in the fact that most lands that have been deforested in recent decades are not suited for long-term farming or ranching and they quickly degrade once the forest has been cut and burnt. Unlike the fertile soils of temperate latitudes, most tropical forest soils cannot sustain annual cropping. The carrying capacity of the soil will not support intensive annual cropping without rapid, irreversible degradation. Similarly, intensive cattle grazing cannot be supported because
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This is due to the increase in the amount of carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere, which has risen by about 25 per cent in the last 150 years. Although it is less than 1/20 of one per cent of the earth 's atmosphere, carbon dioxide has a high capacity to absorb radiant heat (Woodall, 1992).

The negative consequences of global warming are catastrophic -- increasing drought and desertification, crop failures, melting of the polar ice caps, coastal flooding, and displacement of major vegetation regimes. The amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere is estimated to be about 800,000 million tons and is increasing at the rate of about 1 percent annually. Deforestation is an important contributor to global warming, however, its contribution relative to the other factors is not precisely known. The principal cause of global warming is the excessive discharges in industrialized countries of greenhouse gases, mostly from the burning of fossil fuels. Annual discharges from burning fossil fuels are estimated to be about 6,000 million tons of carbon, mostly in the form of carbon dioxide. It is thought that an additional 2,000 million tons or about 25 percent of the total carbon dioxide emissions are a consequence of deforestation and forest fires (WCFSD, 1997). At the regional level, deforestation disrupts normal weather patterns, creating hotter and drier weather. Unfortunately, efforts to find solutions to the deforestation crisis has not been as success in
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