What is deforestation?
Deforestation is the large scale removal of trees from an established forest. Whilst typically we think of rainforests like the Amazon deforestation happens all over the world. For example from 2001 to 2021, United Kingdom lost 507kha of tree cover, equivalent to a 14% decrease in tree cover since 2000. Deforestation can be a naturally occurring event as a result of things like wildfires, floods, parasites and disease - But Humans have also been a huge factor in deforestation, primarily making space for agricultural lands and housing.
Did you know, production of Beef, Biscuits and Chocolate are some of the biggest contributors to deforestation! (You can read more here)
What many people don't realise is that the loss of world forest areas is causing a multitude of problems, including (but not limited to) climate change, loos of biodiversity, soil erosion, and flooding.
The impact of deforestation on the environment:
Whilst deforestation is a big contributing factor to climate change, deforestation has other tragic environmental impacts.
"Seventy percent of the Earth's plant and animals dwell in forests, and deforestation affects them directly. Once their habitat is lost, they are on their way to extinction. According to recent estimates, the world is losing 137 species of plants, animals and insects every day to deforestation." - www.earthandanimals.com
Tree's not only provide a home for many creatures, but they also provide protection to the soil beneath them. While usually the trees would protect the soil from wind and rain, when removed, the ground is completely exposed to the elements causing soil erosion. This can then lead to loss of fertile land, floods and water pollution.
The link between deforestation and climate change:
Trees absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and store it as carbon. When trees are cut down or burned, this carbon is released into the atmosphere, contributing to the greenhouse effect and causing global warming.
How can we combat deforestation:
There are various efforts to combat deforestation, such as reforestation, conservation, and sustainable forestry practices with many wonderful organisations fronting the efforts! Here's some of our favourites!
Us! At One Planet Matters we combat deforestation through reintroducing community orchards! We work with local schools, parish and town councils, and community groups to set up and support growing spaces and mini orchards!
Ecologi - Climate solution for businesses! Initially founded by a group of environmentalists in Bristol, UK. They were frustrated that many of us are not able to contribute enough to the colossal climate problem. It started in late 2018, when Elliot (CEO & Cofounder) was on his morning commute to work. He was buying a coffee just as he had done thousands of times before, and asked himself: How much climate action could I fund with the money for a coffee? The answer led to a revelation – that the pocket change that billions of us have would not only be a significant upgrade to our own personal contributions to the crisis, but could also one day account for reducing half of the world’s emissions. Ecologi's communities have so far funded 60.9 million trees planted across the globe!
Trees For Streets - Trees for Streets is a charitable scheme from the national charity, Trees for Cities, supported by local innovator, Start with Local. Trees For Streets gives residents the means to directly improve their neighbourhood. Street trees offer huge benefits for our own mental and physical wellbeing. They also capture carbon, absorb pollution, create shading and cooling, and just make where we live that much nicer.
The Northern Forest - The Northern Forest is a proposed forest in England to encompass five community forests. The Woodland Trust, The Mersey Forest, City of Trees, White Rose Forest and Humber Forest. The aim is to plant 50 million trees by 2032 which would provide a timber industry, leisure opportunities and environmental benefits. These trees are helping our wildlife to thrive, creating better connected and extensive new woodland and protecting ancient woodlands.
Show support in combating deforestation and reducing our impact on the environment by making a donation to One Planet Matters so that we can continue our work or become a community champion and join the growing communities network. https://www.oneplanetmatters.com/get-involved