Cutting down trees is NOT an option!

Deforestation is NOT an option!

In Zimbabwe, deforestation remains the largest threat to the country’s forests. The Forestry Commission estimates that over 300 000 hectares of forests are lost each year due to deforestation as more people use wood for fuel. According to Zimbabwe National Statistic Agency (ZimStat), Zimbabwe will be a desert in the next 25 years if the cutting of trees continues. If the excessive cutting of trees

What is it Deforestation?

Deforestation is the clearance or the removal of a forest or trees after which the cleared land is not converted to forest use. It can also be defined as the clearing of forests, intentional destruction of trees or vegetation for agricultural, commercial, housing or firewood use without reforestation (replanting trees) and without allowing time for the forest to regenerate itself.

Examples of deforestation include changing of forestland to farms, ranches or urban use.

The negative effects of Deforestation

The removal of trees without enough reforestation can damage natural habitat, lead to dryness in the air and loss of different types of life found on earth. Deforestation is one of the major contributions to the greenhouse effect and formation of deserts.

In areas where most of the trees have been destroyed, soil is washed away during the rainy season and blown away during the dry season, which, leads to infertile lands. This causes animal death, changes to climatic conditions and formation of deserts.

The major cause of deforestation is agriculture such as subsistence farming when farmers focus on growing enough food for themselves and their families. This type of farming is responsible for 48% of deforestation. Commercial agriculture is farming for profit and is responsible for 32% of deforestation. Logging on the other hand is the business of cutting trees for timber and is responsible for 14% of deforestation, while fuel wood removals make up 5% of deforestation.

tsholotsho floods

Floods in Tsholotsho

Uses of trees in the environment

Plants remove carbon in the form of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during the process of photosynthesis but release some oxygen back into the atmosphere. Photosynthesis is a chemical process through which plants produce glucose and oxygen from carbon dioxide and water using light as the only source of energy.

The water cycle is also affected by deforestation. Trees extract groundwater through their roots and release it as water vapour into the atmosphere. When part of a forest is removed, there are fewer trees to release water vapour, resulting in a much drier climate. Deforestation reduces the content of water in the soil and underground water as well as atmospheric moisture.

Deforestation leads to soil erosion, flooding and landslides. Instead of trapping rainfall, water runs off, which moves much faster and this movement causes flooding.

Youths for Today and Tomorrow engages youths on environmental issues ensuring that all projects are environmentally friendly. Awareness is raised on common practises such as cutting down of trees that may negatively affect the environment. The youths where possible, are encouraged to use dead wood and to plant trees as their contribution to reforestation. To date YTT youths have planted about 600 trees, which they are nurturing. They are also encouraged to fence their gardens and fields to avoid the excessive cutting down of trees because “cutting down of trees is indeed NOT an option”.

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it”, Robert Swan. The environment we abuse and the living things we kill in the end will take their revenge for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future. Remember! There is only one earth. Let us save our environment.

Did you know?

Deforestation causes 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year to be emitted into the atmosphere, more than all cars and trucks together worldwide.
Half of the world’s tropical forests has already been cleared.
6 billion people across the globe depend on forest products for their livelihoods thereby adding more to deforestation.
Poverty,over-population and unequal land access are the main causes of man-made deforestation.
There are more than 121 natural remedies in the rain forest, which can be used as medicines.
The rate of deforestation equals to loss of 20 football fields every minute in United States of America.
If the current rate of deforestation continues, it will take less than 100 years to destroy all the rainforests on the earth.
Forests cover 30% of the earth’s land.

American association for the Advancement of Science as reported in the Economist Feb.23, 2008.
Environment, Land use / Resources, Economy, Population / Demographics, Infrastructure, Health — World Factbook, 2005
Forest Cover, Forest types, Breakdown of forest types, Change in Forest Cover, Primary forests, Forest designation, Disturbances affecting forest land, Value of forests, Production, trade and consumption of forest products — The FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS’s Global Forest Resources Assessment (2005 & 2010) and the State of the World’s Forests (2009, 2007, 2005, 2003, 2001).
Tags: cutting down trees, deforestation, environment, trees

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