Have you ever wondered what a world without trees would look like? Close your eyes, and try to imagine a desolate Earth.
There’d be no more paper, and everyone would have to resort to technological use---that is, if anyone was left. Trees are a crucial factor to our existence not only because they produce paper, lumber and chewing gum, but because they serve an important role in the carbon cycle. And because of our ever-increasing population of 6.7 billion, that seemingly distant future is nearing each and every day.
For now, let’s find out the local and global effects of deforestation:
Without trees, humans would not be able survive because the air would be unsuitable for breathing. If anything, people would have to develop gas masks that filter the little oxygen that would be left in the air. Trees are a crucial part of the carbon cycle, a global process in which carbon dioxide constantly circulates through the atmosphere into organism and back again. Carbon is the second most valuable element to life, after water. Anyway, trees take carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis in order to make energy. This carbon is then either transferred into oxygen and released into the air by respiration or is stored inside the trees until they decompose into the soil. Therefore, the absence of trees would result in significantly HIGHER amounts of carbon dioxide in the air and LOWER amounts of oxygen.
If the air hadn’t already wiped out everybody, the next disastrous consequence of deforestation is its damaging effect on soil. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, 2.5 billion people depend on agriculture for their livelihood. If deforestation gets its way, those people won’t be the only ones affected. The soil would become full of dangerous chemicals and pollutants that are usually filtered by trees. In addition, soil erosion is currently prevented by trees because they protect the land. However, soil would be unprotected, and vulnerable to reduction in soil quality and top soil nutrients. Soil erosion would become more prevalent, and eventually all the soil will lose its arability and agriculture will fall...leaving us people to starve.
Arid conditions will surface not only because of dangerous unfiltered substances, but also because at one point it will rarely rain. Sounds crazy, right? During the “dry season,” trees regulate and anchor the dirt by releasing water. Deforested areas, however, are liable to chronic droughts that obstruct river navigation, disrupt industrial operations and kill crop production. Storm water runoff (if it rains) not reduced, but increased which’ll contribute to small floods and topsoil erosion. Furthermore, trees add humidity into the air through transpiration---but the lack of trees results in the lack of moisture in the air.
NO TREE-BASED PRODUCTS:
Of course, if there aren’t trees, there won’t be any products you can get from them. We use and waste paper every day without realizing we’re helping to kill four billion trees cut down every year. Due to global deforestation, there’d be no paper, baseball bats, barrels, books, guitars, furniture, etc. Food harvested from trees like fruits, nuts, berries would be nonexistent as well. Other causes of deforestation today include agricultural expansion, infrastructure expansion, conversion to cropland/pasture and the construction of roads. Moreover, countries are forced to increase the rate of forest loss by population pressures, profits, and internal social/political influences.
And at one point in the future, the level of fresh water resources available will become as scarce. There are already many debates over whether we currently abuse non-renewable resources, but the most important of these resources is probably fresh water. Freshwater is the basis of human survival, and agricultural/industrial operations. Future politicians are going to have to make groundbreaking decisions on how to preserve enough freshwater resources for their country, and one option would be to wage war against other countries.