Difference Between Afforestatin and Deforestation
Before learning about the differences between afforestation and deforestation, let’s understand what they are.
Afforestation is the process of establishing a forest or a group of trees in a place where plants never existed. It is simply growing plants in barren or infertile land.
Afforestation is different from reforestation. Afforestation is carried out in a region where there was no growth of plants previously. It is the creation of a new forest. Reforestation is a process of increasing the number of plants grown in the existing forest. It is the enrichment of an already existing forest.
Significance of afforestation
Forests are the house of our wildlife. As forests continue to diminish, wildlife is also getting extinct day by day. Afforestation is essential to protect and preserve wildlife. Following are the key advantages of afforestation.
- The problem of soil erosion is minimised. Barren lands can slowly be converted into agricultural land.
- Afforestation helps stabilize the climate and reduce the impact of greenhouse gases.
- Afforestation can help in reversing the process of global warming and addressing the issue of climate change.
- Planting trees is an effective solution for a wide range of problems from global warming to employment opportunities.
The reverse of afforestation is deforestation. Deforestation is the process of cutting down trees and converting a forest into barren land. The land derived by deforestation may be used for multiple non-forest purposes such as establishing commercial buildings etc.
Causes of deforestation
Deforestation shows a lot of negative impact at all levels. Some of the key causes of deforestation are given below.
- Urbanisation - Plants are chopped and forests are cleared for a variety of commercial purposes. The forest land is used for laying roads, expanding the cities, building institutions, establishing hospitals, and much more.
- Overpopulation - Overpopulation shows a direct effect on deforestation. As the human population increases in number, they try to occupy and exploit forests to make their habitat. This is how most forests have already been converted into semi-rural areas.
- Mining - Oil and coal mining requires a huge amount of land. Along with the mining land, additional land would be required to lay roads so that a way is made for trucks and mining equipment.
- Agricultural activities - Due to overpopulation, the demand for food products also increased significantly. To meet the demands of the increasing population, the amount of agricultural land also needs to be increased. Therefore, a considerable amount of forests are being converted into agricultural land to meet the food demands of the ever-increasing population.
Consequences of deforestation
The following are the consequences of deforestation.
- Greenhouse effect - Due to deforestation, the emission of greenhouse gases increases to a great extent. Gases such as methane and carbon dioxide trap heat within them, thereby elevating the overall temperature of the planet.
- Loss of wildlife - The forests serve as a natural habitat for millions of species. When a forest is cleared, all the animal species living there lose their habitats. They’ll have to find a new habitat to live in. If they fail to find a new place to live, they will gradually become endangered or extinct. Deforestation is one of the leading causes of biodiversity depletion.
- Soil erosion - When forests are cleared, the land gets directly exposed to the sun. When exposed to the sun, the soil becomes completely dry over time. Soil erosion occurs frequently in the absence of trees. Soil erosion further contaminates the nearby water bodies and impacts the quality of potable water.
- Acid rains - The burning of fossil fuels and deforestation are making oceans more acidic in nature. The entire ecosystem will be at huge risk if oceans continue to become more acidic over time.
Differences between afforestation and deforestation