Forests are rapidly disappearing all over the world, alarming many people. The loss of this natural resource could spell disaster for our planet. Most of us are unsure how we can do anything to stop this. How can we prevent this global crisis? Well, chaining yourself to a tree might make a statement, but there are many more efficient ways to prevent deforestation.
Protecting the world’s forests should be our very first priority in fighting global warming and climate change. Forests are critical to life on earth. 1.6 billion people rely on them directly for food, shelter, fuel and income. Forests provide wide range of environmental, social and economic benefits that improve our quality of life. Forests maintain and support the environment in which we live by regulating the climate, improving air quality by removing harmful CO2 emissions, conserving and cleaning water and supporting wildlife.
Few of the environmental benefits include cleaning the air by absorbing noxious gases and pollutants, improving air quality, preventing soil erosion, serving as home for wildlife, improving groundwater level, providing shade to homes which results in reduced energy costs and controlling floods.
Forests also provide protection against natural disasters like floods and landslides, provide great place for survival for variety of ecosystems and beautify our communities. They are also great place for adventure and sports. In short, we need our forests and our forests need us!
What can the average person do to help prevent deforestation?
1. Ditch the printer
The less you print, the less paper is used. Trees are cut down for paper. Therefore, the less you print, the fewer trees are cut down. In the long run this could really add up to a lot of saved trees.
2. Double-sided paper
If you must print, print on both sides of the page. This will cut down the paper consumption by half, which saves half the number of trees in a forest.
3. Go digital with your bills
In the same way that printing less causes less of a demand for paper, getting your bills through e-mail instead of a printed copy in the mail will decrease the demand for paper.
4. Buy only FSC Certified woo products
The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) monitors that these products were sourced in an environmentally responsible way. If a product is not FSC Certified boycott it, as you will be supporting unsustainable deforestation by buying and funding these products.
5. Switch to bamboo paper
Bamboo is easily sustainable and grows to maturity within five years, a lot faster than trees. They have exactly the same functions as well. Try to use bamboo paper as much as possible in order to lower the demand for paper produced by trees.
6. Switch to digital books
Again, this creates less of a demand for paper. Digital books are also more convenient as you have an endless supply of books on a single device. You can also read from a digital device in the dark, unlike with a book printed on paper.
7. Use the library
If you still prefer to read the real thing, borrow books from your local library. It’s cost efficient and environmentally conscious.
8. Read your magazines online
Most magazines offer the exact same content online if you sign up for a subscription with them. You will also receive the content immediately after it is released instead of waiting.
9. Switch cards for e-cards
This will let your friends know you care about them and the environment.
10. Reuse gift bags
If you think this is tacky, opt for a recyclable gift bag.
11. Plant trees
Does this even need an explanation?
12. Use reusable containers
For your food, trinkets, anything really.
13. Use cutlery
While paper plates and cup are convenient, they are not the environmentally aware choice.
14. Avoid the paper towels
Use the hand dryer in the bathroom instead.
15. Paper towel alternatives
If you need paper towels, buy tree-free or recycled paper towels instead of paper towels made from tree pulp.
16. Switch from paper napkins to cloth napkins
There are also other tree-free options available.
17. Use cloth diapers
Paper diapers are a strain on the environment. Many communities have diaper service that will pick up dirty diapers and leave clean ones.
18. Buy used wooden furniture
You’ll pay less for it and help prevent deforestation.
19. Educate others
Whether it be your children, friends, or colleagues. The more people are aware of what they can do to help prevent deforestation, the better.
Can laws and rules help prevent deforestation?
Regulations help to prevent deforestation because it allows for a time of re-growth due to the rotational approach most of these regulations have. This can also be referred to as sustained yield. There are three different regulations that can be implemented:
20. Regular and planned cutting of trees
- Clear cutting
If there are large areas that have the same type of trees available on it, trees of the same age group can be cut down in a selected area. This area will then be marked for replantation in order to sustain the forest.
- Selective cutting
When selective cutting is implemented it means that only fully mature trees will be allowed to be cut down.
- Shelter wood cutting
This method entails that the least useful trees are cut down first, while the highest quality trees are cut down last.
Also referred to as sustainable yield, this method requires that every tree that gets cut down must be replanted. Similarly, any tree that gets burned down due to forest fires must also get replanted.
22. Monitor agriculture
Many forested areas are cleared in order to make room for agricultural lands. This should be limited.
23. Protect existing forests
In addition to the threat that humans pose for forests, they are also endangered by parasitic fungi, rusts, mistletoe, viruses and nematodes. These all destroy the trees. An effort should be made to administer a chemical spray or some other treatment in order to destroy the parasites.
24. Produce less waste
A shocking amount of wood gets wasted when trees get cut down for logs. The rest is simply thrown away when it could be used for other purposes.
25. Raise awareness through tourism
Forests could become popular tourist destinations. This will give the forest more value and protect it. It will also improve the local economy thanks to the tourists spending their money there. Poorer communities will no longer have to cut down the trees for a living.
26. The government must take action
There are many proposed things that the government can do, such as:
- Passing acts that require the conservation of forests,
- Surveying the forest resources to prevent overusing the resources,
- Categorizing forest areas and proper delimitation of reserved forest areas to prevent anyone from damaging the reserved area,
- Find out which areas require reforestation,
- Regulating and improving upon the commercial use of forest products,
- Protecting forests from fire, mining and other threats, and
- Developing national parks.
27. Forest management can also play a huge role in preventing deforestation
Managing the forest would include the following steps:
- Survey of forest,
- Categorization of forest.
- Economic use of forest,
- Administrative setting for forest management,
- Training programs for persons engaged in forest conservation activities,
- Use of forest land as tourist centers,
- Social and agro-forestry,
- Development of new techniques for the conservation of forests,
- Research for efficient use and conservation of forest, and
- Policy decisions and their proper implementation.
How do Forest Fires Contribute to Deforestation?
Control Over Forest Fires
Some forest fires are caused by nature through lightning, or trees rubbing against each other during a strong wind and creating friction
Most forest fires are due to human negligence. There are ways to prevent this from happening.
1.Do not make open fires
2.Do not throw your cigarette on the ground
3.Maintain electricity wires properly.
4.Have proper equipment and staff trained to put out forest fires
Following these steps can save up to 21.5 million acres of timber annually. Forest fires are currently the main cause of deforestation in the USA.
Here are ways in which you can help prevent forest fires:
- Educate others about what causes forest fires.
- Educate others about what you can do to prevent a forest fire.
- Join an organization that works to protect our forests
At the end of the day, the only way that we can combat deforestation is by joining together and raising awareness. If every person on earth decided to start caring about our forests today, the problem would be solved. Unfortunately, many people are ignorant to what is happening while many others simply do not care. Do not be one of these people. Fight to save our planet.