“The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth.
All things are connected like the blood that unites us all.
Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself”
Deforestation and Forest Degradation have already become global issues. How many are aware that forests also play a critical role in regulating the earth’s climate? Deforestation is the permanent destruction of forests and related ecosystems in order to make the land available for other uses. Forest degradation leads to deterioration of the standing vegetation in density, structure and species composition due to human activities and natural causes. It may involve opening of the canopy, modification of the vertical structure, habitat parameters or change of other attributes. Forest degradation does not necessarily involve a reduction of the forest area, instead leads to the decline of the quality of forests. Together, deforestation and forest degradation reduce the area; quality and quantity of vegetation cover and alter the spatial structure of landscape through the process of fragmentation.
Forests cover approximately 31% of the land area on earth. They produce vital oxygen, and many of the worlds’ most threatened and rare animals live in forests, and 1.6 billion human beings depend on benefits forests offer, including food, fresh water, clothing, medicine and shelter.
The estimated natural forests in Sri Lanka are nearly 18% of the land area. It has been around 751 known species of amphibians, birds and mammals and reptiles of which 21.7% are endemic. There are around 3,314 species of vascular plants, of which 26.9% are endemic. Deforestation in Sri Lanka is one of the most severe environmental issues that have appeared to be rapidly for past few years. Sri Lanka’s forest cover, which was around 49% in 1920, has fallen to approximately 18% by now. Between the year 2000 and 2016 the rate of deforestation has been 1.46% per annum over the reasons like massive development projects, large scales of plantations and resettling plans. Loss of forests has a major impact on global warming and biodiversity; consequently, increasing Carbon dioxide percentage, soil erosion, risk of earth slips and spring water drying.
Deforestation should be significantly declined because much of society does not realise the importance of forests and don’t realise how much it influences the world. No need such huge steps; we can simply contribute to the efforts against deforestation.
It’s time to think twice before you harm a tree. Save forests! Save earth! Save your own life!
Leo Iroshima Ponnmperuma
Member of Leo Club of Colombo Host
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