Genesis 1: 11-12
Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good
Loss of Habitat
One of the most dangerous effects of deforestation is the loss of animal and plant species due to their loss of habitat. 70% of land animals and plant species live in forests. Not only does deforestation threaten species known to us, but also those unknown.
Increase in temperature
The trees of the rainforest that provide shelter for some species also provide the canopy that regulates the temperature.
Deforestation results in a more drastic temperature variation from day to night, much like a desert, which could prove fatal for many inhabitants. Trees in the city reduce the temperature and “Urban heat islands” occur when cities replace natural land cover with dense concentrations of pavement, buildings, and other surfaces that absorb and retain heat. This effect increases energy costs (e.g., for air conditioning), air pollution levels, and heat-related illness and mortality.
Increased Greenhouse Gases
In addition to the loss of habitat, the lack of trees also allows a greater amount of greenhouse gases to be released into the atmosphere. Healthy forests absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, acting as valuable carbon sinks. Deforested areas lose that ability and release more carbon.
Water in the Atmosphere
Trees also help to control the level of water in the atmosphere by helping to regulate the water cycle.
One of the most important forests for regulating water cycles across the planet is the Amazon rainforest. Its millions of trees work together to release moisture into the air, creating atmospheric “rivers” that regulate Earth’s weather patterns.
In deforested areas, there is less water in the air to be returned to the soil. This then causes dryer soil and the inability to grow crops.
Soil Erosion and Flooding
Further effects of deforestation include soil erosion and coastal flooding. Trees help the land to retain water and topsoil, which provides the rich nutrients to sustain additional forest life.
Without forests, the soil erodes and washes away, causing farmers to move on and perpetuate the cycle. The barren land which is left behind in the wake of these unsustainable agricultural practices is then more susceptible to flooding, specifically in coastal regions.
Effects of Deforestation on Indigenous People
As large amounts of forests are cleared away, allowing exposed land to deteriorate and the habitats of innumerable species to be destroyed, the Indigenous communities who live there and depend on the forest to sustain their way of life are also under threat.
The loss of forests has an immediate and direct effect on their lifestyle. Many Indigenous communities depend on what the forest has to offer for food, medicine, building materials, and cultural resources. Often, frontline communities have little say in how their local environment is altered by governments and corporations. At the same time, these communities face the most immediate and threatening impacts of environmental degradation and climate change. The governments of nations with rainforests within their borders often attempt to evict Indigenous tribes before the deforestation begins.