Deforestation has reshaped much of the world over the course of human history. Although forestry management is practiced with varying degrees of effectiveness, deforestation still occurs across the globe. Hurricanes, volcanos, burning forests for agriculture, forest fires, forests cut for charcoal production, as well as, seekingprofits in the free market and the need to provide jobs for those without, often ends with the destruction of forests.
(Image of Amazonian rainforest with roads and deforested sections creating fragmented landscape (right) via NASA in public domain)
This process devastates habitat, plants, animals, insects and whole ecosystems. Also, ecosystem services provided by these forests are negatively impacted such as water purification, carbon sequestration, water cycling, and sources of foods and medicines are lost as well.
Deforestation not only effects the forest cover that was once existing in an area now devoid of habitat and most life, it affects the surrounding ecosystems and habitat by creating habitat fragmentation. Fragmentation often leads to the susceptibility of whole populations and biodiversity loss by creating cut-off populations, whereby small changes can lead to extinction or extirpation as resiliency is lowered in these situations.
The poor management of forests around the world cannot be sustained indefinitely and we should look at how we can improve our education on the subject, our consumption habits, and uses of wood, in order to stop deforestation.
(CC Image courtesy of crustmania on Flickr)