The problem of deforestation

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Shahnawaz Ali

Thousands and thousands of acres of lush rain forests are cleared each year to make way for development. The once beautiful and spectacular forests are reduced to barren landscapes. This is for the sake of development, for the advancement of man.
Yet, what happens when trees are felled? Firstly, the earth is left vulnerable to soil erosion. The heavy tropical rains will carry away the rich topsoil, and the land without its topsoil will no longer be fertile. Slowly but steadily, the lush vegetation will give way to wasteland.
Secondly, the flowing water will not only wash away the topsoil but will deposit it in the rivers. As a result, the rivers will become shallower. Consequently, floods will become frequent in the area. Thousands of people will suffer in these floods.
Another point to note is that forests are home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna. Animals and plants live in symbiotic relationships in the balance of nature. Man destroys this balance when he flattens the forests to the ground. Where do they go then, the great and tiny inhabitants of these forests? Nowhere they die. If this goes on, the food chain will be disrupted. As creatures dependent on the food chain, man is ultimately destroying his own sources of food through the destruction of rain forests.
When forests are a distant memory, a shocking fact will hit us full force. Mankind will be thrown into a state of unimaginable suffering and agony. What I am talking about is the lack of oxygen. While cutting down a tree to add yet another piece of luxurious furniture to Man’s already opulent lifestyle, people forget that they are also cutting down our supply of oxygen.
Trees absorb the carbon dioxide breathed out by living creatures, reprocess it and, in the end, produce the life-sustaining oxygen. Without trees, where will this oxygen come from? Will we process it in factories? Will a time come when man will be fighting for the very air he breathes?
Furthermore, the excessive carbon dioxide will also effect a change in the micro-climate and raise the region’s temperature. There will be a greenhouse effect on earth; warm air and radiation will be trapped under the earth’s atmosphere. Then, as the earth’s temperature rises, the ice in the polar caps will melt, raising the sea level. Great floods will hit the lower-lying areas.
As you can see, it is a vicious cycle. A change in our environment will trigger off another change which will trigger off yet another. This is why we should keep the balance of nature. This is why we ought to preserve our forests. This is why environmentalist groups are pressurizing governments to reduce the felling of trees and the clearing of forests and to be serious about replanting forests.
With the support of ordinary citizens like you and me, they will get the attention of the people in power. We can also help by planting trees. Members of this beautiful planet must be united. By preserving our forests, we are preserving ourselves.