In this article, I’m going to explain how to reduce deforestation of forests by carrying out simple and effective actions that you can implement in your daily life.
What is Deforestation?
Deforestation is the destruction of forests produced mainly by cutting down trees to obtain wood. Trees are also felled and burned on a massive scale to provide land for agriculture, mining and livestock.
How Do We Benefit From Trees?
- Trees produce oxygen that we use to breathe. In 10 hours, one hectare of trees produces oxygen for 400 people.
- Trees send moisture from the environment to the aquifers, creating groundwater that we extract for human consumption.
- Trees shade us in summer and protect us from rain and wind.
- Trees have many health benefits that you can read here.
- Trees play a decisive role in the fight against climate change. Their ability to capture carbon dioxide will allow us to gain the time needed to radically reduce our CO2 emission levels.
There are many functions of trees that contribute to the balance of our ecosystems. However, we are finishing them off. It is essential to halt deforestation and restore the planet’s forests.
Deforestation in the Amazon
The Amazon Rainforest is the largest forest on the planet and has already lost 18% of its surface and its destruction continues. If we continue with this rate of massive deforestation, half of the Amazon Rainforest could disappear by 2050.
The greatest threats to the Amazon Rainforest are the illegal timber trade, the expansion of soybean crops, and the expansion of livestock for meat for human consumption. Unfortunately, the Amazon Rainforest is not the only example of deforestation.
In many countries, deforestation causes the extinction of many species, desertification, and displacement of indigenous populations.
So how can we prevent deforestation of forests? What can each of us do?
How to Avoid Deforestation of Forests: Solutions for Deforestation
Volunteer to Reforest
We can plant native trees wherever we are. It is enough to search for information on the internet to become volunteers in a reforestation project that is currently being carried out in your country.
Use the Ecosia Search Engine
If you are unable to volunteer for a reforestation project now, you can use the Ecosia search engine to conduct your searches on the Internet. The owners are committed to planting trees and 80% of the benefits of the advertising of that search engine goes to reforestation.
In other words, Ecosia has planted millions of trees all over the world and for every 45 searches you make in their search engine, you get them to plant a tree.
Here you have the Ecosia search engine and you can install its free extension in your browser.
Buy FSC-Certified Wood Products
Only buy wood products that have the FSC certificate, which guarantees that those products come from well-managed forests. It’s important to show support to those companies that properly create wood products.
Reuse Wood Furniture
If possible, reuse second-hand wood furniture. It is not necessary to buy them all new if you can get some in good condition.
Use Alternative Materials to Wood
Buy products made with alternative materials to the wood of trees which is made with almond shells or crushed walnut and resin shells forming a composite that serves to mold chairs and furniture.
Other alternative materials to tree wood include bamboo, hemp, cork, cardboard, and straw.
A simple but important step is to recycle paper.
Stop Felling Trees for Soybeans
We can consume non-GM soy directly instead of giving it to animals that are going to be cruelly and unnecessarily slaughtered for us to eat their meat.
In this way, it would not be necessary to cut down so many trees in the Amazon Rainforest in order to obtain large tracts of land for the cultivation of soybeans or large tracts of land for these animals to live for human consumption.
For example, to produce 1 kilo of beef you need more than 15 kilos of soya and other cereals.
Now the questions we could ask ourselves would be:
How many people can eat 1 kilo of meat?
On the other hand, how many people can feed on those more than 15 kilos of soya and other cereals that we have earmarked for that kilo of meat?
Educate Ourselves to Protect Our Forests From Fires
Educate one another to protect our forests from fires caused by lack of human consciousness.
Glass bottles thrown into the forest can magnify the sun’s rays and start a fire. And the rest of the rubbish, like plastics, can make it easier to spread. It is essential not to throw rubbish in the forest and to collect from time to time the rubbish we find, even if it is not our own.
7 Bonus Recommendations to Halt Global Deforestation As Soon As Possible
Recently the British newspaper The Guardian organized a panel with specialists to discuss the most effective measures against deforestation. The group, made up of ten experts, reached a series of conclusions, among which the following stand out: the role of indigenous communities as the most efficient guardians of the forests, encouraging the care of the forest surface, and renewing the paradigm that confronts conservation with economic development.
Here are the recommendations:
1. Eliminate Subsidies for Forms of Agriculture that Damage Forests
Governments around the world agree on the urgency of halting deforestation but, at the same time, incentivize its profitability. This is done through subsidies and other support for agricultural activities that will involve the cutting down of forested areas.
2. Invest in Indigenous Communities
The subsistence and cultural identity of indigenous groups around the world are intimately linked to forests. For this reason, and as has been demonstrated repeatedly, these groups are the most effective conservation agents of forest territories. Rachel Biderman, Director of the World Resources Institute in Brazil, warns that strengthening the indigenous population that inhabits the forests is key to halting deforestation.
3. Talking About the Causes of Deforestation
According to Ian Gray, coordinator of the Forest Investment Program, putting the causes and possible solutions to deforestation on the discussion table, both globally and according to the particularities of each region, is one of the fundamental measures. Perhaps about saying that action must be taken at the same time, in an expeditious manner, since time is obviously pressing.
4. Demonstrate that Forest Conservation and Economic Development are not Mutually Exclusive.
It is imperative to change the paradigm that erroneously confronts these two activities. The evidence, as Per Pharo, who directs The Norwegian Climate and Forest Initiative, points out, is that combining conservation, restoration and sustainable forest management with high-productivity agriculture yields better results in terms of productivity, environmental benefits and social justice. As an example, Pharo cites the Brazilian case that registered considerable growth in its agricultural production and a notable reduction in its deforestation rates.
5. Pressuring Large Companies to Adopt Sustainable Supply Chains
Consumer pressure, coupled with public policymaking, could help large companies and producers closely monitor their supply process and ensure sustainability in the extraction of every input or resource from forests.
6. Act Not Only at the Local Level but also at the National Level
At this point, Frances Seymour of the Center for Global Development emphasizes the need to legally recognize the land rights of indigenous and rural communities, as well as to eliminate the over-regulation that often hinders the work of these groups. These two factors are common enemies of the conservation and restoration of forest areas, especially in the case of developing countries, which occupy a large part of the planet’s forest area – for example, Mexico or Brazil.
7. Providing Incentives and Monitoring Their Implementation
Granting financial incentives to countries to apply them in protection and reforestation programs is a measure that Per Pharo considers appropriate. However, he emphasizes the need to monitor the exercise of these resources to ensure that this model produces better results.
Now I just want to ask you to help me share this article “Simple Steps that Help Reduce Deforestation” on your social networks so that I can reach more people and spread awareness about deforestation. Thank you very much!