How many trees get cut down a day?
In an era where global warming has reached alarming proportions, different ways to curb the rising greenhouse gas emissions are being developed.
Apart from renewable energy innovations being researched upon, issues such as deforestation are among front-burner issues being tackled by regional governments.
How Many Trees Are Cut Down Each Day?
Despite several legislations being introduced by various governments, massive deforestation, especially in the third world remains.
So, what’s the extent of the problem?
To fully understand its impact on the environment, we’ll need to consider deforestation from the standpoint of the number of trees and their limbs being cut each year.
Why Deforestation Should Be Worrisome
The cutting of trees on a global scale takes its toll on the environment. To understand the extent of the problem, it’s necessary to have an insight into what deforestation entails.
First off, about 31% of the earth’s surface is occupied by forests. These are considered the lungs of the earth due to their air purifying function.
Because trees and forests help absorb carbon dioxide emissions, deforestation negatively impacts this air purification process.
This directly leads to global warming. According to scientific findings, the Amazon rainforest is credited with producing about 20% of the world’s oxygen.
Unfortunately, the logging and deforestation activity happening each minute sees a loss of around 1.32 acres of forested area. This is alarming considering the benefits derived from this rainforest.
The Volume of Trees Cut Down Each Day
To understand the enormity of the problem caused by tree cutting, it’s necessary to take a look at the number of trees that go down each day.
Most of these natural resources aren’t used sustainably. In other words, the numbers of trees being planted are nowhere close to the numbers being cut each year.
According to the science journal Nature, about 15 billion trees are cut down each year. Translating this further, this figure represents approximately 42 million trees being cut per day!
So, what exactly are these trees being felled for?
There are several reasons why trees are being cut daily as you’ll find out shortly.
Human Activities Influencing Deforestation
When it comes to determining the causes of deforestation, a wide range of human activities can be said to be responsible. These include agriculture, mining, logging, and expansion of urban dwellings.
Without these human activities, the extent of deforestation won’t be as bad as it is.
Our discussion to this point isn’t to paint all tree-cutting activities in a bad light. There are justified uses of tree resources as well as unnecessary and destructive uses of same.
To further explain how these activities adversely impact the environment, let’s take a look at each.
As the global human population increases, food needs also climb. This requires further use of land for agricultural production. Now, agriculture is practiced on a small, medium, and large scale.
To a large extent, both small and medium-scale agriculture does not put much strain on forests as large-scale or mechanized agriculture.
Because mechanized agriculture requires large swathes of land, such provisions need to be made by cutting down any trees or forests standing in the way.
This directly impacts global warming as fewer trees are left to absorb and convert greenhouse gases.
Medium-scale farming also takes its toll on forests when all such farming activities are taken into consideration. Sometimes, forests are cleared for the cultivation of economic trees like palm plantations.
Replacing natural rainforests with palm plantations doesn’t solve the problem as such action releases about 61% of the carbon stored in the forests.
Mining is an extractive action taken to explore assorted minerals from the earth. While carrying out such action, forests have been cleared on a large scale to gain better access to mineral-rich areas.
Unfortunately, this has had more negative impacts on the environment than positives.
Both actions (mining and tree-cutting) involve the exploration of non-renewable resources from the earth. Unless a better and more effective method of mineral mining is discovered, its impact on the environment will generally be negative.
Mining is a blanket term for all extractive activities involving minerals like gold, diamond, petroleum & natural gas, tin, and a variety of other precious metals.
A lot of times, forests having rich deposits of precious metals have been destroyed to make way for their (mineral) extraction.
The logging industry is quite huge and provides a variety of construction materials as well as wood for paper production. The primary raw materials used for these are wood.
So, forests are deliberately targeted to provide the needed timber as well as pulp for paper production.
To some extent, this has been done sustainably compared to the others. In addition to existing forests, trees are grown to create sufficiency and sustainability.
Still, this doesn’t change the fact that logging activity affects the environment in multiple ways.
Construction and Expansion of Urban Dwellings
The expansion of cities and construction activities serve as part of the major causes of deforestation. As cities expand outwards, so does the need for more land.
This leads to further shrinking of forest reserves and other wooded areas.
Apart from new homes or human dwellings, the construction of infrastructural facilities and utilities may require the cutting down of trees.
This constant interaction of humans with their environment hasn’t helped the preservation of natural resources like trees.
Each tree cutting activity may seem harmless to the environment. However, when taking a broader look at the global impacts of such action, the damage becomes more obvious.
42 million trees being cut each day isn’t something to be taken lightly.
This translates to a whopping 15 billion trees being lost through human activity each year.
Given the dangers posed, a lot of governments the world over have taken responsibility by carrying out tree planting campaigns in addition to putting legislative measures in place to discourage indiscriminate tree cutting.
With a sustained approach to better utilization of forest resources, it’s expected that the volume of trees being cut each day will drop significantly.
Tree cutting is one action that sees a lot of natural resources being lost due to ignorance on the importance of such to the environment.