Forests have been a constant source of food and livelihood to many human beings. The primitive man was entirely dependent on the forest for his sustenance. The food they ate, the clothes they wore, the materials they used to build houses etc., came entirely from the forests. With the passage of time, man became smarter and innovative. His desires increased and to fulfil those desires, he started destroying the forests. Large-scale deforestation has been taking place ever since human beings developed the ‘developmental attitude.’
The cutting down of massive trees and clearing huge stretches of land enabled humans to build houses, construct roads, use the lands for cultivation etc. Given the benefits flowing from such deforestation; the adverse effects were not considered. They were not felt as well, until recently. Man realized that his activities are troubling the planet; the delicate balance of which has been disturbed greatly. The cutting up of trees has led to reduction of forest cover and hence the soil gets loosened up, resulting in soil erosion and mass movement. The eroded soil makes the area barren, which can’t be put into cultivation and generally, the area becomes useless.
Reduction in forest cover has also led to the decline of the ground water table, which remains to be a major source of fresh-water for all the creatures on the planet. Though, more than seventy percent of the Earth’s surface is filled with water, only a meagre part of it is fit for consumption and the entire humankind is dependent on it. Any destruction of the water resources is the destruction of humankind, in essence.
Furthermore, deforestation has caused a change in the climatic conditions of the planet. Deforestation remains to be the second major cause for the increase in the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, after vehicular pollution. And this is so because of two reasons, firstly because of the reduction in their number, there are not enough trees which can absorb the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; and secondly, deforestation not only reduces the number of trees but also releases carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere, i.e., once a tree is cut; a large amount of carbon dioxide is emitted back into the atmosphere.
Considering the ill effects flowing from deforestation, which affects the soil we use to grow our food; the dying of our usable water resources and the contamination of the air we breathe in; we must all join hands to do our bit and make a difference. The least we can do is by planting a sapling each year. We may not be able to re-create forests on our own, but if each one of us takes these steps towards the same; we shall reach our goal. Climate change is real and only forests can make good the harm we have caused to the environment over the years.
It is high time now and we must both plant forests and prevent their clearing to the extent plausible; for we are the last generation, which can make a difference.