Deforestation has been a huge controversy with environmentalists. Many people argue the benefits of deforestation, but they look past the negative effects it does have. People who support deforestation may explore the economic benefits of deforestation. Deforestation may have economic benefits, but despite that, the negatives greatly outweigh the positives. Deforestation destroys natural habitats for animals. When a species’ natural habitat is gone, it becomes hard for that species to adapt- causing extinction. The ultimate result of deforestation is a major decrease in biodiversity.
In the article, Benefits of Deforestation, Nathalie Fiset mainly focuses on the economic benefits of deforestation. She claims that lumber products are one of the most stable constructive materials in human society, and that humans cannot live without lumber products (Fiset). That is true to a certain extent, but we are evolving into a paperless society. Nowadays, almost everything is run electronically. For example, people can pay almost any bill online now; there is no paper involved in that. Also, when people vote, they do it electronically. There are no more paper ballots. There is no reason to have to cut down so many trees when the human society is learning to live without paper products. Most paper companies today use recycled materials, not trees.
Another point that Fiset makes is that deforestation can create many jobs. She states that when environmentalists go against deforestation, it causes many people working with lumber products to lose those jobs (Fiset). When deforestation is looked at in perspective, is it really worth it? People can always get up and find another job. When these people destroy the homes of millions, those animals have nowhere else to go. It is harder for animals to just go find a new home. It takes generations to adapt to new surroundings. When these workers lose their jobs there are many eco-friendly jobs that these workers could go into. For example, they could monitor the forests and wildlife instead of cutting down trees and destroying natural habitats. Another job alternative is to work for a paper recycling company. Instead of cutting down trees, they can be saving trees by recycling used paper. Instead of destroying natural habitats, these workers could be working for a company that stands for something good.
Fiset believes that when companies destroy a forest that they can easily make up for what they lost by planting more trees in the place of old ones (Fiset). When lumberjacks cut down trees, they cannot simply just plant more trees and leave it at that. In one single forest there are various types of trees and it takes hundreds of years to create a voluminous forest that largely supports biodiversity and all the wildlife residing in it. Usually when forests are destroyed, companies plants only one or two species of trees to make up for what they removed. Certain animals need a specific tree to live or raise a family. When humans plant only one single tree, it might be hard for them to adapt, ultimately causing extinction. When natural habitats are demolished to nothing most animals get killed in the process or some of them flee. When the animals return, however, their home is completely gone. For example, many birds that had nests in the different species of trees that were destroyed, now has to raise its family in an open field just asking for a predator to eat this birds offspring. This happens because they cannot adapt quickly enough to support themselves in this new tree. When a species goes extinct, there is no going back. Once they are gone, they are gone for good.
The last claim she makes is that destroying forests could help find more natural resources, such as oil, natural gas, and coal (Fiset). The automobile industry is starting a new revolution with more fuel efficient and eco-friendly cars. The United States is slowly leaning away from natural, non-renewable resources. The effects from burning coal greatly impacted global warming with a dramatic decrease of O-ZONE levels, which protect the Earth from harmful UV rays from the sun. As a result, coal is not a major thing we should be looking for. There are so many other ways of electricity too. There is wind energy, solar energy, geothermal energy, hydraulic energy, and tidal wave energy. All of those energy sources do not have a need for natural resources, and they are all renewable and cause little to no damage to the Earth. If deforestation keeps going down the road it is going, then many more species will be diminished.
In the Amazon forest, there are thousands of different organisms. One certain study done by scientists was to record how the stingless bee adapted with deforestation. According to the article, these certain species of bees are important to not only the environment, but also with humans economically and culturally. Many people would say that bees are not important, but for people living in the Amazon and areas around the Amazon, bees are sacred. Some people even consider these stingless bees as pets. The stingless bee produces honey which has a variety of different uses. People can obviously eat the honey or use it in certain recipes and they can use it to make Balché, which is an alcoholic beverage. Another benefit of these bees is to pollinate farmer’s crops. If there are no bees, then there are no crops which produce food that farmers need to sell.
In a study done on these stingless bees, scientists went to different areas of the Amazon that were being affected by deforestation and collected the bees to see how they were adapting to deforestation. As a result, they found seven different species of stingless bees, but only two of those species seemed to not be affected by deforestation (McCoy and Mushinski). So that means five of species of the stingless bee is vulnerable for extinction. This is just one example of how deforestation can destroy a species.
Another example of animals at risk because of deforestation is the ring-tailed lemurs. These monkeys live in Madagascar, but since the human population has been expanding rapidly in Madagascar companies are clearing forests and destroying the lemur’s habitat. Many scientists believe that lemurs are what make a rainforest healthy (Butler). There are only about 50 species left of lemurs. Deforestation is putting a lot of pressure on these lemurs living in Madagascar. The evidence proves that there are so many different kinds of species being affected by deforestation ranging from bees to monkeys.
Clearing trees to build farms, cities, and homes just destroys natural habitats. Those are just the primary effects. There are other effects of deforestation that most people look past. One example of a secondary effect of deforestation is the pollutants brought in to the forest. When a company is clearing an acre of forest, they bring trucks in that deposit harmful pollutants in the wildlife. Researchers have found that thousands of harmful chemicals are introduced to the natural environment that disrupt the nervous, immune, endocrine, and reproduction cycles of animals that come in contact with these chemicals (Hose and Guillette 87). This also has a major effect on endangered species, because when affected with these pollutants, it can be hard for them to reproduce. This means that the population of the endangered species will not go up not making it difficult at all to go extinct.
However, there are some solutions humans can make to help prevent harmful products from entering a natural environment. One resolution can be to keep very close observations on the toxins exposed to the environment. This will limit how much chemicals can pollute the environment and will set reproduction cycles back on track. Another resolution can be knowledge of the chemicals that are being distributed into these environments. Once people know how bad these chemicals really are, then they might stop using them. The last resolution is to create model ecosystems, like restoration facilities, to help reform the endocrine system (Hose and Guillette 88-89).
Although deforestation has greatly impacted the wildlife, there are a few organizations trying to help some of the animals struggling in the wild. These organizations create restoration programs for animals on the brink of extinction. Scientists can measure the success rate of these facilities, and the success rate is usually very high. It is easier to measure success one facility at a time (McCoy and Mushinski). Deforestation may be destroying the lives of some animals, but when humans take little steps towards helping the natural environment is one step closer to ultimately helping an endangered species.
There are many examples of how deforestation can be beneficiary, but a lot are simply looking at what they can do for humans. Supporters want to destroy habitats to find natural resources which can and will destroy this planet. Global warming is prevalent, and deforestation is just adding more fuel to the fire. Also, when destroying an acre of forest, that is millions of animals homes being destroyed. When the homes of these animals that live in those forests that are being cleared everyday are gone, they have no protection for themselves and their offspring. This is a major problem for biodiversity. Each day thousands of species become extinct drastically decreasing the Earth’s biodiversity. Deforestation has many benefits to humans, but it is a huge problem for the natural environment.
Butler, Rhett A. “Lemurs are Key to Health of Madagascar’s Rainforests.” Mongabay. 2008. 5 May 2009.
Fiset, Nathalie. “Benefits of Deforestation.” Ezinearticles. 30 April 2009.
Hose, J.E. & Guillette, L.J. “Defining the Role of Pollutants in the Distribution of Reproduction in Wildlife.” Environmental Health Perspectives 103 (1995): 87-91. JSTOR. Western Illinois University Library. 02 April 2009
Brown, Christopher J. and Albrecht, Christian. “The Affect of Tropical Deforestation on Stingless Bees of the Genus Melipona.” Journal of Biogeography. 28.5 (2001): 623-634. JSTOR. Western Illinois University Library. 02 April 2009
McCoy, Earl D and Mushinski, Henry R. “Measuring the Success of Wildlife Community Restoration.” Ecological Applications. 12.6 (2002): 1861-1871. JSTOR. Western Illinois University Library. 02 April 2009