by Sammara Audi, Public Relations Intern
Trees are a vital part of our environment, taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen to clear the atmosphere. They’re one of our main sources of oxygen and are essential for the survival of humans and wildlife. We get 16% of our overall oxygen from the trees and plants in the Amazon Forest alone! Trees are the secret weapon to battling climate change and we need to protect them in order to protect our planet! Thirty percent of our planet is covered in trees and forests, but, due to deforestation and especially wildfires, the number of trees left is gradually decreasing.
Cutting down trees changes them from collectors of carbon dioxide to emitters. Eleven percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused entirely by deforestation. This is equivalent to the emissions from cars and other motorized vehicles globally! Together, carbon emissions and deforestation increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which only highlights the importance of saving trees and enforcing rules prohibiting them from being cut down. Since the 1960s, around half of the world’s rainforests have been lost; every day, almost 81,000 hectares (200,000 acres) of rainforests are burned to the ground.
Deforestation mainly occurs due to the clearing of land for agricultural growth. 80% of deforestation is caused by agricultural expansion for livestock or crop growth. The next highest contributing factors are the development of infrastructure, mining of materials, and urban expansion. More than 90% of people in poverty depend solely on forests in order to survive, and cut them down to use as firewood for heating and cooking or even for shelter. Although some have justifiable cause to cut down trees, regulations should at least be put in place to avoid over-deforestation. Many animals suffer from habitat loss as a result of deforestation, which ultimately leads to the extinction of certain species. Deforestation is an urgent problem that needs to be dealt with immediately; we cannot risk the impact it has on our planet.
By 2050, the human population on Earth is estimated to be more than 9 billion people, the total demand for food and space for housing will almost double, and the number of forests will decrease immensely unless we change our agricultural ways to a smarter alternative. The best solution to deforestation is to plant trees to counteract the number of trees that are being cut down. Not to mention, governments need to step in and take control of the quantity of trees that are being cut down in their countries.
FUF is an organization that actively plants trees to better the environment of San Francisco, making streets greener and skies clearer!