Deforestation and Mitigation

Assignment 4: White Paper


Deforestation and Mitigation

Executive Summary

Forests are very important to everyone. They directly or indirectly support millions of persons in the world and over 80% of the Earth’s biological diversity. Again, forests drive local and global, hydrological, and climatic cycles, therefore; they contribute to climate change when cut down at a rate exceeding their regeneration rates (Tucker & Townshend 2000). Furthermore, a lot of scientific studies assert that forest destructions and deforestations are the third most contributors to greenhouse gases that cause global warming and climate change. Also, there are proofs that deforestations contribute thrice the greenhouse gases released from global transport sector (Potter, 1999).

Forests are biological resources, which are very sensitive to unsustainable exploitations because if the rate of cutting down the stands exceed the rate of natural regeneration, then decline in forest cover results. In this regard, forest management and conservation become mandatory if humanity still wants to tap the values from the natural resources. Therefore, a workable idea is to conserve forest carefully by avoiding forest cuttings, illegal loggings, and unscrupulous forest extraction methods. Alternatively, tree planting should be embraced as a technique to replace the felled stands, however, some planted trees grow very slowly that delay forest regenerations (Kummer & Turner 1994).

As human population continues to grow, with the advancement in world industrial activities, deforestation will continue to exacerbate to severe levels. Simultaneously, droughts and increased instances of forest fires worsen the situation of climate change and increase the vulnerability of the world population to the food crisis. Therefore, to mitigate deforestation, the reasons behind tree cutting must be understood, and then plausible alternatives adopted to reduce direct reliance on the sensitive ecosystem.

That is why; this paper explores the potential strategies that must be implemented to curb deforestation. The best approach is to address the human causes of deforestations because they are the main contributors (Tucker & Townshend 2000). In addition to this, deforestation of tropical rainforest being the highest in the world, particularly in the developing countries, mitigation measures must be prioritize in African, Asian, and Latin America.


Forest degradation occurs when trees in forested regions are subjected to land use change, for instance, an area covered by forest is converted to ranches, urban buildings, settlements, infrastructure, or for agricultural purposes. According to Costa and Pires (2010), forest loss affects natural system cycles, which include water, weather, soil, and atmosphere circulations.

Deforestation has a lot of negative impacts to the world population, environment, and the economy. Notably, loss of forest cover is based on social, economic, and political grounds; hence these factors form the bottom line of formulating strategies to address deforestation. Logging operations, for wood and paper products, have resulted to countless tree stands cut, particularly when the action is illegal (Tucker & Townshend 2000). Moreover, commercial trade on wood products, for example, hardwood from Central and Western Africa, threatens the long-term existence of the African rainforest.

Climate change and deforestation calls for effective and careful management tools to save both biological and geophysical functions of forests. Suggested measures include limited fragmentation, landscape management, education, and regulation, creating protected forest zone amongst others like adopting green energy (United Nations Development Program, 2000). Further, strict laws and policies on forest resources must be in place to heavily prosecute illegal loggers and scrapping out impunity when environmental crimes are committed.

Factors Driving Deforestation

Causes of deforestation are profoundly multiple on the local, regional, and global scale. However, all the drivers of deforestation are based on social, economic, and political factors. Social factors define the society and how they relate to the forests, for example, most small-scale farmers and hunter-gatherer communities directly relate to the forest. On the other hand, economic factors relate to the levels of industrialization and how the industries source their inputs from the forest while political factors define the territorial boundaries and regulations put in place to monitor forest exploitation.

All over the world, intensive and extensive agriculture have led to the conversion of vast lands previously covered by forest. Furthermore, commercial trade on forest resources and illegal logging contribute to loss of tree stands. Other causes of deforestation include overexploitation, forest fires, wood fuel extraction, industrial growth, urban sprawl. It is worth noting that, all the possible sources are categorized as either natural or human, with the latter being the most severe and accelerating.

Mitigating Deforestation

Mitigation measures are the remedial interventions that eliminate or reduce the current rates of deforestation to ensure recovery of forest resources. When the lost forest is restored, biodiversity, soil, climate, and human welfare are improved to the better. Therefore, solving deforestation should be based on feasible and practical policies and conservation measures to necessitate sustainability and restoration (Kummer & Turner 1994). Several strategies that can be used to restore the lost treasure include:

Sustainable Agricultural Practices

Sustainability in agriculture involves integrated systems that incorporate crops and tree, particularly known as agroforestry. The mechanism ensures that farmers benefit from both the crops and tree stands. However, the practice has not been much developed in many parts of the world despite the benefits that come with it. Trees in croplands have multipurpose; for example, they serve as shelterbelts, enrich the soil, reduce soil erosion, improve yields, and create a microclimate. To appropriately commission such projects, countries should employ communities or public, private partnership (PPP) with the guide of agricultural and forestry agencies.

Monitoring Deforestation

Through aerial photography and satellite imagery, incidences of illegal logging can be monitored, which forms the base line of prosecuting the environmental crimes. Further, the monitoring and surveillance will necessitate a creation of a database on forest resource through hotspot analysis to guide prioritization of interventions (Tucker & Townshend 2000). Digital analysis done on satellite imagery has to great extent reduced deforestation in Brazilian Amazon.

Reforestation and Forest Plantations

Reforestation is planting of trees where the indigenous forest had been disturbed. To ensure the effectiveness, fast growing trees are encouraged, though; care must be taken to avoid the proliferation of the planted trees at an ecological expense (Potter, 1999). For example, impact assessment of most eucalyptus species has to be carried out to match the tree requirements and the ecology of a particular area. Again, forest plantations are important because they provide the industries with materials inputs and to reduce reliance on natural forest for wood products. Plantations have a yield capacity of 5-10 times that of the natural forests so it is essential to plant and manage fast growing tree species (Kummer & Turner 1994).

Forest Management

Management involves conservation and consideration of sustainability in utilization of forest resources. Secondly, management also means protection. When the forest is severely destroyed, utilization is ceased to create protected forest zones (Kummer & Turner 1994). These zones are out of bounds for all forms of use as the tree stands are left on their natural state. On the other hand, conservation allows people to tap the resources from the forest but, in an ecologically sustainable manner. Also, nature conservancies have been used in many parts of the world to raise endangered plant species and to raise seedlings. In Asia and some parts of Africa such as Senegal, communities based organizations raise seedlings and sell to the forestry agencies or donate to green schools and youth organizations.

Land Use Planning

All development must be environmental friendly, for example, growth of urban centers should not compromise the growth of indigenous forest. Instead, green towns need to integrate trees and concrete infrastructures (green structures). On the other hand, urban sprawl can be reduced by developing the rural areas. In a nutshell, before any land use is converted to another, precautionary measures should be put in place for planning and avoiding future consequences (Potter, 1999).

Eco-Forestry and Community Forestry

Only selected tree should be cut to ensure sustainable exploitation. This technique has minimal damages and gives the forest adequate time to recover. This selectivity permits commercial timber extraction in an ecologically sound scale. Furthermore, community forestry is done on local levels to allow the community to participate and manage local forests (Tucker & Townshend 2000).

Environmental Litigation

Laws and policies that govern forest resources must be complied with, failure to which, the offender faces the legal structure without going impunity. The litigation process must clearly outline the fines involved ensuring that the offenders pay as the civil laws or Acts entrench. Similarly, public policies should be developed to create incentives among the people for conservation and sustainable utilization of forests (Kummer & Turner 1994).

Adopting Alternative Sources of Energy

Wood fuel extraction is the world major cause of deforestation, meaning that if people divert to alternative energy source, the forest benefits. The most efficient and clean energy is solar, which can be installed even to the remote households (Potter, 1999). Again, relevant policies should govern charcoal production, which a significant contributor to tree cuttings, particularly in the poverty stricken areas.


Deforestation is a worldwide environmental issue that have led to complex network of problems, which can be trickled down to land degradation, climate change, and global warming, loss of biodiversity, reduces renewable resources, loss of human wellbeing, and livelihoods. Notably, loss of forest negatively affects the valuable ecosystem services, which are life supporting systems. The conversions of natural forest to other land use are caused by manmade and natural causes, the former being very accelerating. To curb future consequences, mitigation measures must be implemented and sustained. The tropical and temperate rainforest are the most threatened forest ecosystems in the world, and, therefore, prompt interventions must be implemented. Conclusively, reducing deforestation will benefit the world population, environment, and the global economy. Even though worldwide campaigns have been used to reduce the rates of forest loss, effort still needs to be put in place to avoid future impacts.


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