Ever been to South America? Brazil or Ecuador, maybe? There’s something innately fascinating about setting foot into the world’s largest rainforest — the Amazon. But this beautiful home to countless animals and exotic plants is threatened by deforestation, which has many devastating effects on our planet. It’s on us to implement solutions.
If you’ve ever visited a tropical climate before, even Hawaii or parts of Africa that are near the equator, you know just how special the landscapes there are.
A wealth of biodiversity — exploding with different species of plants and home to an abundance of wildlife. And in the background, you hear the happy soundtrack of thousands of exotic birds chirping with joy.
A captivating experience you’ll never forget.
…and then they come, rolling around the corner in a cloud of dust.
With excavators and bulldozers wreaking havoc on this beautiful gem of tranquility. Tree after tree. Lost are unique plants and wildlife habitats — with endangered species edging closer to the verge of extinction.
Deforestation at its worst. Changing our planet one tree at a time.
Truth be told, deforestation has profound effects on life on Earth — us included. Therefore, exploring solutions to our deforestation issue is a crucial step to saving the rainforests and improving the conditions for both us and our environment.
Deforestation — Why?
Why is it that despite the unsettling effects of deforestation, many corporations, companies, and governments support it?
See, there are several industrial and commercial reasons that profit-seeking organizations hope to achieve. Here are the top three.
We know that rainforests are a wealth of plants and wildlife… But they’re also a wealth of trees — which sadly, can be chopped down as timber and sold around the world.
Deforestation doesn’t just reduce the size of our rainforests but also causes the loss of invaluable and rare species of trees that don’t grow on a global scale.
The exponential increase in the human population requires a continuous expansion of cities and municipalities. Even formerly rural communities have grown so much that seeking economic opportunities is something many small towns will welcome — despite the sacrifice.
This urbanization uses deforestation as a means to build new roads and make infrastructure for our ever-growing population.
Make Room for Agricultural Projects
It’s estimated that food production is one of the primary contributors to deforestation.¹ In 2020, over 4 million hectares of primary rainforest were destroyed for the purpose of agriculture.¹
In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) states that expansions in agriculture are the key cause — leading to a shocking 90% of deforestation.²
What’s Next? Deforestation Effects
With all the trees chopped down, rainforests destroyed, and habitats impacted, what comes next? Obviously, deforestation has many unpleasant effects that have the potential to alter life on Earth as we know it. So, how will our lives be affected exactly?
Here are the five most noteworthy effects of deforestation. Let’s take a look.
(1) Impact on Wildlife & Biodiversity
It’s fascinating just how old some rainforests really are, having prevailed millions of years³ — only to face the effects of deforestation today.
Considered to be our planet’s oldest ecosystems, the abundance of plants and wildlife in rainforests is mind-boggling.³ And although the rainforests only make up 6% of Earth’s surface, they’re, in fact, home to an impressive 50% of our overall plant and animal species.³
Therefore, deforestation has a strong impact on the rainforests’ unique flora and fauna and can lead to the extinction of already vulnerable species of animals.
(2) Worsening Climate Change
Did you know that the world’s rainforests play a key role in trapping carbon dioxide? A major deforestation effect is that this greenhouse gas, when not absorbed, will float around in the atmosphere and exacerbate climate change.
In fact, forests are important constituents that help maintain our planet’s carbon balance — absorbing about 2.4 billion metric tons of carbon every single year.⁴ The Amazon alone is responsible for taking on a quarter of that total.⁴
With dwindling amounts of forested areas, less carbon will be absorbed, leaving more of the dreaded gas, carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere and contributing further to the rise in global temperatures.
(3) Desertification & Soil Erosion
When deforestation wipes out whole ecosystems, cutting down hundreds or even thousands of trees, the effects run deep — piercing the soil that carried those very trees.
With the trees gone, the roots that used to hold the soil together vanish as well. And without the roots, the soil becomes exposed and vulnerable — tossed around at the mercy of wind and weather.
As the soil is either washed away or lacks substantial nutrients, it’s now subject to degradation, slowly turning prosperous and rich rainforests into bleak desert land.
(4) Disruption of the Water Cycle
This might be a less obvious deforestation effect but it’s nonetheless an important one. Hydrological cycles and water volumes in rivers, the soil, and the atmosphere, all rely on trees to do the heavy lifting.
The key word is evapotranspiration — a process through which water is transported from the soil into the atmosphere. With a diminishing number of trees, less transpiration can occur. With less evapotranspiration, in turn, less precipitation can occur in formerly forested areas.
And changes in precipitation trigger shifts in water availability in rivers nearby — particularly because the water cycle is a tight-knit and highly co-influential system.
What Can We Do? Solutions for Deforestation
To mitigate the effects of deforestation and prevent the issue from growing, we need to find solutions that will:
- Reduce or stop further deforestation of our rainforests
- Restore the forested areas already lost
Here are five deforestation solutions that you can bring to the table to actively work on saving the rainforests, as well as our planet.
(1) Save the Rainforests
How do you save the rainforests? Start by inquiring about the origin of any wood products you use. Even better, make sure you only use certified wood, acknowledging its economic feasibility and eco-conscious production.
Two of the most prominent wood certifications are the FSC (by the Forest Stewardship Council) and the PEFC (by the Program for Endorsement for Forest Certification).
(2) Use Recycled Products
This is a no-brainer but try using only recycled wood and recycle the products after you’re done with them, again. With a lower demand for (new) wood, the “need” to cut down additional trees ceases, getting us a step closer to a solution for this global deforestation problem.
(3) Choose the Companies You Support
Consumers are extremely powerful. The purchase patterns of consumers can, in fact, make or break a company. Choose to support those that use a sustainable approach to their business and make Earth-friendly choices.
At Herbaland, we realize the value of our environment and have, therefore, switched from plastic to sustainably sourced compostable packaging, hoping to do our part in keeping Planet Earth at the forefront of our business.
(4) Adopt a Sustainable Lifestyle
For a well-rounded solution to our deforestation problem, we don’t just want to uplift eco-conscious businesses but also examine our own lifestyles. You can easily integrate sustainable living practices into your own routine and live a more resourceful life.
(5) Get Involved
In order to tackle the widespread effects of deforestation, all need to work together. We all share this beautiful planet, so we need to go hand in hand when seeking a solution to deforestation.
So, what do you do? Spread the word, raise awareness in your community, write your politicians, and use the power of social networks. Get involved and become an advocate for this awe-inducing planet of ours.
Plant a Tree with Herbaland
As an environmentally conscious company, at Herbaland, we take active steps in saving the rainforests. With the gravity of deforestation effects, it’s imperative we make way for bold solutions and set an example for Earth-friendly practices — both on a personal and professional level.
After all, we’re in this together.
That’s why Herbaland plants one tree for every pouch of Herbaland gummies purchased. And given the vast amount of rainforests destroyed, a restorative approach can help rebuild our forests to their former glory, planting one tree at a time — with your support.
We have collaborated with veritree and pledged to plant 2.5 million trees by 2025 [please double-check this number, took it off of the website]. As of now, we have planted +34 hectares of forest and sequestered +73 thousand tons of carbon dioxide. A milestone we’re only hoping to expand on further.
Check out our ever-growing Herbaland forest and join in on our journey. Time to change the world, one tree at a time.
- Sizing Up How Agriculture Connects to Deforestation. Accessed February 15, 2023.
COP26: Agricultural expansion drives almost 90 percent of global deforestation. Accessed February 15, 2023.
- Rainforest. Accessed February 15, 2023.
- Amazon rainforest ability to soak up carbon dioxide is falling. Accessed February 15, 2023. https://www.science.org/content/article/amazon-rainforest-ability-soak-carbon-dioxide-falling#:~:text=Forests%20play%20a%20crucial%20role,a%20quarter%20of%20that%20total.