Deforestation can be defined as the clearing or removal of forests or stands of trees for specific purposes, whereby the land becomes available for non-forest use. This dissolute actions of mankind are causing an intolerable imbalance in nature, and are a major factor leading to climate change, extinction of rare animals, desertification, and displacement of population. Deforestation is also one of the major causes of a disturbed water cycle, global warming, and soil erosion. If not controlled, the imbalance is likely to threaten life on Earth.
Solutions to Deforestation
The run for profitability on the grounds of deforestation is leading the world towards devastation and desolation. There is a need to keep a check on such activities before it is too late to act. Here are a few solutions that can help save our planet from the harmful effects of deforestation.
Improved Methods of Farming
Land is needed to grow crops and rear cattle for which trees on it need to be cleared. To prevent this, farmers need to be introduced to new methods of farming. This can prevent the indiscriminate cutting down of trees.
In cyclic agriculture, the land is used for cultivation till the soil loses its fertility, after which it is abandoned. Natural vegetation makes the soil fertile again in a few years. The time span in which the land remains barren can be utilized for cattle grazing and this can help in preserving forests as more trees don't have to be cut for creating lands for farming.
In this type of farming, the same plot of land is utilized to grow seasonal crops, one after the other. This prevents cutting down of trees to get new land for cultivation. Crop rotation also increases the productivity of soil.
Use of High-Yield Variety Seeds
This is a farming technique which uses highly productive seeds that are often drought and insect resistant. These seeds produce more while utilizing a smaller area of land. With the use of these seeds, the need to cut trees is lesser and a higher production is achieved from the same piece of land.
It is a special farming technique of growing plants in water (without soil) containing dissolved nutrients.
These techniques, if followed in the right manner, can definitely help prevent deforestation. Farmers should also be made aware of the harmful effects of cutting trees and of intensive farming, which leads to erosion and infertility.
Several programs have been drafted to limit and control the rate of trees being cut in the recent years.
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) is a program initiated to provide monetary assistance to developing countries facing the problem of deforestation. The money is utilized to roll back or limit deforestation and stop practices that are harmful to the environment.
Another initiative taken by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a non-profit organization aims at minimizing the impact of commercial logging on forests around the world. It provides certifications to timber logs and products that have originated from sustainable forests. It ensures that logging does not exceed capacities of forests, thus allowing long-term sustainable harvesting. Such initiatives should be encouraged. A small way could be to buy wood products with the FSC trademark and help FSC achieve its mission of saving more forests.
The Need of Programs
As a national initiative, the government of every country needs to impose rules so as to put a stop to deforestation and take a strict action against offenders. Initiatives for the planting of trees need to be taken in both urban, as well as rural areas. Urban development programs should use barren land, and forest covers should not be disturbed for the same. Forest areas should be guarded and logging practices should be watched on. Measures should be taken to compensate for the loss of trees.
The government should also allow special incentives to organizations that take part in afforestation. Tax cuts should be granted to corporations, to get them actively interested in reforestation.
Trees cannot be grown in areas deficient in water supply. Scarcity of water can falter an entire eco-system. Conservation and proper distribution of water can help solve this problem. Water management programs should ensure that water wastage is reduced. Making water available in areas where it is scarce, can help promote the growth of trees in those areas.
Monitoring and ReforestationMonitoring
Deforestation needs regular monitoring. It is important to keep a check on areas with high rates of deforestation and this can be done with the help of aerial photos, satellite imagery, or hotspot analysis. Keeping a check on deforestation can help in taking concrete conservation steps. Monitoring also helps in verifying the total damage done.
Reforestation helps in improving the quality of the environment as well as of human life. Trees help in reducing pollution and in mitigating global warming. Many East Asian countries have successfully managed to reverse deforestation. China has shown a tremendous change in converting land areas to forest covers in the last decade. As a special initiative for reforestation, China has also declared a "National Tree Planting Day" in the country. Many other countries, such as Germany, Canada and the United States, have taken an initiative and are in the process of increasing their forest areas through reforestation.
It is necessary to make people realize the importance of trees. Schools and other educational institutions should teach students the need of trees and the environmental impact of their felling. They should help spread awareness about the importance of forest covers on the planet and how cutting of trees can be detrimental to life. Seminars, stage shows, and office campaigns can help in creating a basic understanding of the need for afforestation. Campaigns like these can help in educating people and making them aware of the ill-effects of deforestation.
Saving Wood Fuel
Trees are cut down for fuel. It is important that people understand the need of trees, and substitute wood fuel with other forms of fuel such as biomass, biofuel, or coal.
Using Recycled Products
Recycling is the process of utilizing used or abandoned material to create new products. Using recycled paper products, such as paper pads, shopping bags, books, tissue paper, etc., can be helpful in preserving forests as using recycled products reduces the need for the cutting of trees.
Initiatives for planting trees should be taken at an individual level. Afforestation can start at a very basic level if each of us decides to plant, say, one tree every month. Group initiatives to plant trees on hills, on fertile patches of land in the outskirts of the city or on riversides can surely help. It does not take much to start with planting a tree or two in one's own garden or an area around one's school or workplace. If done regularly, it can contribute to the spread of green cover. This should also help in making up for the loss of trees in the past and promote a healthier environment.
Plant more trees, save the environment and make the Earth a better place to live.