Adeela Hameed

Can We Afford to Lose Forests?

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Forests are treasures of nature. They are Earth’s reservoirs, cradling wilderness, and providing amenities for humans all over the world. Forests continue to thrive in spite of misuse because they have the ability to replenish. These assets not only act as home to more than a million species but are one of the two main sinks for greenhouse gases (GHGs); the other is oceans. It may not be the first time you have read about protecting forests or sustainable cultivation but nowadays the need to revise this information is more than ever. People are destroying forest ecosystems without realizing setbacks that lay in wait. Now with a youth world population of nearly 2 billion, requirement for preservation of biodiversity, both fauna and flora, has exceeded prior commitments. It has given rise to a ‘now or never’ situation.

The state of affairs around the world can provide an insight. Destruction of rich forest cover, at the hands of nations committed to increasing economic stature by putting natural resources at stake, is on the increase. Tropical rainforests are one of the most productive ecosystems on this planet. Nations, which have been given the responsibility to safeguard these forests, are continuing unjustified exploitation without remorse. The head of state of one such nation made headlines a couple months ago by downright handing over preference to economical advances rather than protecting tropical forest cover in his jurisdiction. Relinquishing our sole support system to make way for concrete urbanised jungles is sheer stupidity. These ideals do not suit a leader. Although countries in and around the Amazons are considerably well-off than most developing nations, however their quest to compete with more developed states makes them vulnerable to reckless decision-making. We, as a planet, cannot afford to lose rainforests. It is mostly with their help that majority of the species survive.

According to researches done after a part of the Amazons was deforested for monetary gains, it was found that instead of acting as a sink of carbon dioxide, the destroyed part was actually contributing to more emissions. This is something we will never expect from a naturally balanced ecosystem. With mass murder of trees, the forest started reiterating, and acting as a source rather than a sink. Long-term implications of such an episode may lead us towards water crisis, or worse, increased global warming. This, in turn, would affect food stocks, supplies, production, and transportation.

Difficulties arise when making the general public aware ofthreats that could potentially affect their healthy survival in absence of forest resources. It is because now, being easily available, people have taken such resources for granted. Without any care of what might happen tomorrow, which unfortunately will if the current trend continues, people forget resource preservation.

What the world needs now is a thorough understanding of each and every part of its vast biogeographical arena, not to mention the increasing human resource, and formulating a way to combine both for sustainable development. Educationists and young research enthusiasts have to come forth once again and work for the development of our niche. However diminutive or trivial it may seem, a small aberration has a thousand-fold impact on the planetary ecosystem. The first and foremost step in achieving the same is sustainable development and adaptation. Exorcising is never easy but pollution caused by our morbid activities can be counter-acted by planting more trees, preventing deforestation, and representing global forests. Genuine research is another important aspect. And with the help of technology we will surely conquer any regressive impact that would otherwise harm our beloved Earth.



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