Environmental disturbances and changes: Impact on Forests

snerfu By snerfu, 26th Jun 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Gardening>Maintenance

Environmental disturbances could drastically reduce amount of forest area in a short time. Some of these are man made, while there are some that occur naturally too. By understanding what causes them one can prepare to find a solution to this.

Greenhouse gas emissions

One main contributing factor to environmental disturbance is greenhouse gas. Main greenhouse gases are nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, gases with fluorine and methane. People refer to them as greenhouse gases because they form a shield in the atmosphere that traps all heat rising from earth. One bad effect of this is melting of icecaps, which will cause a rise in sea levels all over our world.

Study of individual gases

a) Nitrous oxide: This occurs because of industrial activities and during agriculture. A small amount occurs during burning of fossil fuels and combustion of solid wastes.

b) Carbon dioxide: Carbon dioxide occurs in atmosphere when there is burning of wood, fossil fuels and solid wastes. Certain chemical reactions too produce carbon dioxide gas. You can sequester carbon dioxide from atmosphere using plants that utilize this gas during its photosynthesis process. This reduces amount of carbon dioxide in atmosphere.

c) Gases with fluorine: Sulfur hexafluoride and hydrofluorocarbons occur because of industrial processes. These are powerful greenhouse gases but emitted in small quantities.

d) Methane: When we produce and transport oil, gas and coal, methane production occurs. It also happens when they burn landfills having solid wastes. Livestock produce methane gas. It also happens when organic waste decomposes.

We can get an estimate of how long these greenhouse gases will remain in atmosphere through Global Warming Potential (GWP). This GWP also tells us how strong the gas is in absorbing energy.

Benefits we receive from forests

Forests play an important role in conserving our ecosystem. It helps clear air of poisonous gases produced by cement industry and by automobiles. It reduces impact of greenhouse gases. Exhaust of automobiles produces 5214 kg of carbon waste per vehicle annually. Forests also help bind soil and prevent soil erosion.
• Removes carbon dioxide from atmosphere
• Binds soil and prevents soil erosion
• Produces atmospheric oxygen
• Provide rich biodiversity as much as 90% of all species found on earth

I) Artificial threats to forests

Various projects that impact forest growth
1. Deforestation: Senseless and massive destruction of forestland leading to creation of open stretches of land that are open to erosion from elements.
2. Quarrying in forestland: Mining of ores in forestland has led to destruction of vast areas of forests.
3. Building roads in forest area: In name of progress, many projects envisage construction of roads through forests. This kind of destruction of forests will deplete forest reserve of valuable material and sometimes this may result in a shortage of essential food items for certain species. This might result in extinction of that species.
4. Clearing forests for construction purposes: Similarly, when you clear forestland for making houses and buildings for offices, you are putting an entire group of forest dwellers in danger.

I) Natural threats to forests

a. Forest fires: Global warming has raised temperatures so much that spontaneous wild fires begin in forests. This takes out a good portion of forests and sometimes destroys rare species. One has to address problem of rising global temperatures first to find an effective solution.

b. Outbreak of pests: Though this is less common, outbreak of pests could destroy wildlife and biodiversity in forests within a short span of time.

c. Drought: Changing climatic conditions precipitate conditions of drought in many areas around our world. Drought can wipe out entire forests and reduce landscape to that of a barren desert.

d. Soil erosion: This condition can occur when forest floor is sloping. It may also happen if forest is near a rapidly flowing body of water, such as a river. Once erosion happens, soil becomes unfit for cultivation.

e. Changing climatic conditions: Climatic change occurs due to rising temperatures. This phenomenon occurs on a global scale due to greenhouse effect.

Environmental disturbances include tangible impacts that result from direct actions. The outcome could be positive or negative depending on actual site conditions. One positive outcome could be increase in number of birds or animals. Another is rise in fertility of soil. On the other hand, one could enumerate negative aspects as those kinds that cause a drop in value. Soil erosion and decrease in count of birds or animal species are typical examples of such negative aspects.

Be prepared to handle situation

By understanding impact of environmental disturbances on forests, one is able to deal with environmental changes and handle disturbances in a right perspective. One understands that any approach to this problem has only one bottom line – conservation of forests. One can adapt better when one has knowledge of impact and remain prepared for it.

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Atmosphere, Carbon Dioxide, Forests, Greenhouse Gas, Soil

Meet the author

author avatar snerfu
Bachelor, Christian, 53, settled in Madurai, India, like to watch football and tennis on TV. I also have occasional walks but try to read the Bible daily. For amusement, I read the newspaper.

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author avatar Bill Harbin Jr
27th Jun 2014 (#)

A lot of good research on this article.

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author avatar snerfu
27th Jun 2014 (#)

Yes Mr Harbin I like this topic a lot.

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author avatar Ptrikha
30th Jun 2014 (#)

A good reckoner on the Forests. Well written!

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author avatar snerfu
30th Jun 2014 (#)

Many Thanks Ptrikha. Nice of you to give me a look up.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
3rd Jul 2014 (#)

Good job.

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author avatar snerfu
3rd Jul 2014 (#)

Good you like forests.

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