Wind Power

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Deforestation for food and fuel – A devastating consequence of overpopulation - to be checked immediately:

Deforestation for food and fuel – A devastating consequence of overpopulation - to be checked immediately:

Tropical rainforests are incredibly rich ecosystems that play a fundamental role in the basic functioning of the planet. Rainforests are home to probably 50 percent of the world's species, making them an extensive library of biological and genetic resources. In addition, rainforests help maintain the climate by regulating atmospheric gases and stabilizing rainfall, protect against desertification, and provide numerous other ecological functions. These precious systems are among the most threatened on the planet because of unchecked population growth and rising demand.

As per the rough estimate, each day at least 80,000 acres (32,300 ha) of forest disappear from Earth.Rising demand for food, biofuels, wood for paper, building and industry made forest cover worldwide most vulnerable. The result of it is more deforestation, more conflict, more carbon emissions, more climate change and less prosperity for everyone. Growth in population, especially in developing countries, is the major culprit for irresponsible deforestation, degradation of global environment and climate change.

Demand for land worldwide to grow more food, fuel crops for future energy security and wood is set to outstrip supply, leading to the probable destruction of forests. Tropical forests in Asia, Africa and South America are at most vulnerable position as growth in population in developing countries in those continents is quite large.

Many reports suggests that, because of the rising demand for food and biofuel, by another two decades, more than 500 million hectares of extra land will be needed worldwide for growing crops and trees; but only 200 million hectares will be available without dipping into tropical forests. Thus, tropical forest areas are bound to be affected extensively in next couple of decades. Analysis of figures from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) shows that tropical deforestation rates increased 8.5 percent from 2000-2005 when compared with the 1990s, while loss of primary forests may have expanded by 25 percent over the same period.

Some of the studies also suggest that, if the current level in agricultural yield continues, the amount of additional agricultural land required just to meet the world's projected food demand in 2050 would be about three billion hectares and nearly all would be required in developing countries. In such a scenario, tropical forest areas in developing countries would be destroyed, without repair, almost completely.

However, some academics place their hopes in agricultural technologies including genetic engineering to boost crop yields.

The main area of concern is, since the spectacular success of the expected green revolution is, so far, quite slow. In some areas, yields are falling - a trend, which is most likely to be, intensified by climate change due to global warming. Moreover, eating into tropical forests to create extra agricultural land would, in turn, deepen climate change. Further, greenhouse gases may also rise because of extensive deforestation. As these forests fall, more carbon is added to the atmosphere, climactic conditions are further altered, and more topsoil is lost to erosion.

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