Over the past several centuries, humans have turned the world into a forest of concrete buildings scattered across the globe. Urban areas are constantly expanding, and this translates into the development of vast areas with tall buildings replacing natural vegetation. Human settlements are also a contributing factor in the changes witnessed in the earth’s biosphere. While the earth appears as a shining planet from space, with green patches of vegetation being visible from space, this characteristic may not hold for long. In his quest for survival, man eliminates indigenous forests and natural vegetation from vast land masses to settle.
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This has a negative impact to the ecology because it eliminates survival factors for animals and plants that naturally inhabit the lands. Industrious cities in the developed nations like China and Japan occupy large masses of land, leaving limited space for the natural vegetation to thrive. This phenomenon alters the balance of nature for vegetation and animals, and it is the main cause of extinction in living organisms.
The earth’s biosphere is constantly losing its vegetation cover because of human activities, and this has dire impacts on other parts of the earth like the atmosphere. Vegetation cover is responsible for converting carbon dioxide to oxygen to balance the constituents of the atmosphere. Excessive clearing of vegetation on the earth’s service results to an alteration of the equilibrium in gaseous volumes in the atmosphere, and the current levels of greenhouse gases are alarming, especially in the urban areas. Man has single-handedly made the biosphere inhabitable for other living organisms, and this trend will continue as long as man continues to develop settlement areas (Raven, Berg & Hassenzahl, 2011).
Excessive clearing of indigenous vegetation in the vast lands across the world affects the earth’s carbon cycle. Clearing forests, farming land, and grasslands results to an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. Trees and other plants making up the earth’s vegetation are responsible for reducing the levels of carbon dioxide in the air through photosynthesis. Urban areas experience escalated levels of carbon dioxide, which leads to global warming and climate change.
Disrupting the carbon cycle in the quest for industrialization and modernization is likely to cause negative effects on the survival of vegetation in the future because of the adverse effects of climate change. Some parts of the world are already experiencing the consequences of disrupting the earth’s carbon cycle, which in turn affects the hydro cycle of the planet (Bala et al., 2007).
The global society is aware of the effects of human settlement and deforestation, and the relevant authorities have set some measures to counter the effects on the carbon cycle. Planting forests around urban areas and by the roadsides in urban areas is one of the measures that seem to help in alleviating the issue. NGOs dealing with environmental issues, conduct advocacy campaigns across the globe to prevent developments leading to deforestation. Some of the environmentalists like the late Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize winner, impacted the African society to plant trees to reclaim the lost forest cover in the continent (Maathai, 2004).
The society also plays a big role in influencing the authorities to plan for sustainable developments with minimal negative effects to the ecosystem. For instance, the UK society contends with the government against the construction of roads passing through natural forests in some of the urban areas.
Bala, G., Caldeira, K., Wickett, M., Phillips, T. J., Lobell, D. B., Delire, C., & Mirin, A. (2007). Combined climate and carbon-cycle effects of large-scale deforestation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(16), 6550-6555. Web.
Maathai, W. (2004). The Green Belt Movement: Sharing the approach and the experience. New York: Lantern Books. Web.
Raven, P. H., Berg, L. R., & Hassenzahl, D. M. (2011). Environment, 8th Edition. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. Web.