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Deforestation and Its Man-Made Causes Essay

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Updated: May 29th, 2021

Deforestation is defined as a severe environmental problem that leads to a considerable decrease in forest area, affecting climate worldwide. The process of deforestation can be justified as a possibility to meet the needs of the population, including feeding or manufacturing. However, when millions of hectares of forest are lost annually, deforestation becomes a global concern with the necessity to find a solution.

Many man-stimulated factors can be the causes of deforestation, from agricultural expansion and timber harvesting to increased crop production. All of the arguments that stand in favor of continuing acts, which contribute to deforestation are rooted in pursuing an economic advantage. Palm oil is in high demand in many Asian and African countries, harvesting timber creates new land for roads, buildings, and commodities for people, and soybean cultivation promotes positive financial outcomes in many countries worldwide. Exporting naturally found resources becomes an easy profit for numerous countries.

Improving socio-economic conditions becomes attainable through the exploitation of natural resources. Evident benefits include the creation of working places and new opportunities, which, however, are inevitably conjoined to the processes’ disadvantages like climate change and unexpected natural disasters. Regarding a variety of economic prospects, people must realize the level of harm produced to plants, animals, and wildlife in the process of material extraction.

This topic lies beyond simple economics and even touches upon ethics, morals, and self-accountability. Humans are the prime cause of deforestation, and it is their responsibility to find a solution by implementing new strategies, using technologies, and gaining control via certification and law.

Soy Moratorium, abbreviated SoyM, is a governance agreement enacted in July 2006 and supported by local Brazilian sellers to stop the progress of deforestation, control the process of soy production, and not buy products from deforested land. Selective logging is one of the possible operations that is frequently used by modern landowners and aims at cutting countless trees. Blockchain is a recent digital technology that aims at recording various forms of transactions and linking them with the help of cryptography, including the possibility to control land documentation.

The problem of deforestation touches upon many countries around the whole world and causes a significant loss of rainforests because of the required agricultural expansion. There are immense plantations of oil palms in Southeast Asian regions, meaning that much land with rainforests has to be cleared to support the idea of palm oil cultivation. This type of vegetable oil can be used in the production of different cosmetics products, cleaning agents, and other household stuff.

Rachel Fritts, the author of the article “A New Study Reveals Global Drivers of Deforestation” published in Pacific Standard 17 September 2018, admits that “large-scale conversion of forest for agricultural land to grow commodity crops like oil palm and rubber tends to be more ecologically damaging” compared to logging, earthquake, or wildfire (https://psmag.com/environment/whats-driving-global-deforestation).

The citizens of Malaysia and Indonesia are the primary producers and suppliers of oil palm goods. Therefore, it is not a surprise to find out that many local companies frequently destroy trees and find out new natural resources to promote business and earn profits. Being a recognizable tropical vegetable oil, palm oil plantations turn out to be an important driver of deforestation.

The expansion of agriculture may have both positive and negative outcomes for society, and timber harvesting is one of the factors that have similar characteristics. Harvesting timber affects the environment in a variety of ways, including poor air quality, unpredictable climate change, and severe weather conditions. Natural disasters frequently occur, destroying houses, plants, and other subjects that are important for human living.

The investigations by Victor Baron, Alain Rival, and Raphael Marichal that was published in The Conversation 8 June 2017 stated that legal or illegal forest exploitation for timber led to the fact that “deforested areas are not immediately or automatically regrown, and as a result, Indonesia alone harbors more than 50 million hectares of degraded forest land” (https://theconversation.com/no-palm-oil-is-not-responsible-for-40-of-global-deforestation-78482).

The absence of trees weakens nature and makes it vulnerable to many outside factors. Mathematical calculations may not be necessary here, and this information can be converted into rather simple but meaningful words: the more trees are cut down, the more dangerous consequences should be expected. The decision to harvest timber influences the conditions and the composition of the forest and its financial profits become attractive to several landowners. Furthermore, the act of harvesting timber will affect the next forest as well.

The increased production of soybeans cannot be ignored as one of the main causes of deforestation globally. The concern relates to the qualities of this product. Soybeans are the direct source of protein and nitrogen fertilizer. Soybeans are used to feed cows, chickens, and pigs, and the demand for meat increases the demand for soybean products. In this case, the connection is clear and cannot be misunderstood.

People want to eat cheap meat and do not pay special attention to the conditions and resources spent on animal breeding. The representatives of the livestock industry choose the methods that are most appropriate for their work, and soybeans are still one of the cheapest options. Landowners find it profitable to promote soybean production without considering the outcomes they provoke.

Several attempts were taken by the government bodies to control the production of soybean and report on the price changes, but the results did not demonstrate considerable changes. According to the report of Trump that is presented by Meg Kelly in the article “Both Sides of the Aisle Stretch the Truth in the Soybean Debate” published in Washington Post 13 August 2018, the prices on soybeans have not dropped fifty percent during the last several years with “soybeans peaked at $13.40 per bushel” in 2011 and “soybeans cost $9.55 per bushel” in 2018 (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2018/08/13/both-sides-of-the-aisle-stretch-the-truth-in-the-soybean-debate/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.afbc01a0b8e9).

Such high prices and their annual stability do not motivate farmers and sellers to pay attention to another source of financial profits. The elimination of rainforests and unwillingness to search for new options create problems for environmentalists and researchers whose intentions include the necessity to reduce the number of deforested areas. The connection between human needs and soybean-driven deforestation is evident.

Finally, soybean production and deforestation problems are associated with poorly developed governmental control. It means that despite the actual picture connected to deforestation, agricultural expansion, and timber harvest, effective steps to solve the problem are not enough either for the whole globe or for a particular region. Deforestation is a complex problem with no definite solution to be offered to the global population. Unfortunately, even the most experienced professionals are not ready always to answer and offer an alternative.

In the article “New Report Documents Soy-Linked Deforestation in Argentina and Paraguay” that was published in Feed Navigator in 2018, Jane Byrne admitted that “controlling it will require government, industry, farmers, local communities and civil society to develop new systems” (https://www.feednavigator.com/Article/2018/03/28/New-report-documents-soy-linked-deforestation-in-Argentina-and-Paraguay). The problem is the inability to comprehend the essence of soybean cultivation and introduce effective ways of how to connect all the bodies that may be involved in soybean production and deforestation prediction.

The implementation of SoyM by non-governmental facilities shows that some options exist for landowners and users in the modern world. The expected requirement is to take a step and not to be afraid to change something regardless of the already established norms and rules.

Many local organizations and people who believe that the loss of trees can lead to serious environmental changes frequently discuss deforestation. Indonesia and many Southeastern Asian countries face a serious ecological issue because of a considerable number of trees continuing to disappear. Palm oil production is blamed for these changes and new tensions between the necessity to preserve nature and the obligation to succeed in agricultural expansion occur. The economic development of the South cannot be ignored, and people cannot stop working in the chosen agricultural industry.

Farmers are ready to destroy indigenous rainforests for the sake of palm oil plantations. In the article “Effect of Oil Palm Sustainability Certification on Deforestation and Fire in Indonesia” published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2018, Kimberly M. Carlson, Robert Heilmayr, Holly K. Gibbs, Praveen Noojipady, David N. Burns, Douglas C. Morton, Nathalie F. Walker, Gary D. Paoli, and Claire Kremen admitted that “palm oil producers current have few incentives to expand the area of forest under their control” (P 126). People do not make corporate decisions but focus on their independent profits and development.

Timber harvesting remains a grave cause of environmental degradation in many countries. At the same time, it is necessary to admit that people are those who are responsible for the development of this problem and the promotion of new challenges. Greenhouse gas and carbon emissions, the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem, and climate change are the outcomes of timber harvesting. There is a thought that people can support sustainable timber when these activities do not create any harm to nature.

Jaclyn Fitzgerald in the article “What Is Sustainable Timber?” posted in HI Pages 14 September 2018 explained that “when one tree is cut down for use, another is immediately planted to replace it” (https://hipages.com.au/article/what_is_sustainable_timber). However, it is hard to find enough evidence to prove the absence of negative effects even if sustainable timber is used. Environmentalists and observers state that when trees are cut down, these activities interfere with an ordinary state of affairs and change the living conditions of local animals and plants. The protection of air, water, and wildlife cannot be ignored because, if people do not respect nature, one day nature may begin to disrespect humans.

The specified problem could be avoided by assessing the properties of every forest individually and deciding what areas can be used for harvesting timber. The proposed solution implies the evaluation of the sustainability of the forest, its current condition, and the health thereof to ensure that the negative impact will be reduced to its bare minimum.

However, the specified technique can hardly be seen as viable due to the difficulties associated with the assessment of a forest’s maturity, evaluating the possible impact of the timber harvesting process, and the tools for managing possible negative consequences. Even with the introduction of the specified methods of handling the outcomes of timber harvesting, the damage that forests will suffer will be devastating, and the resources that forests will lose will not be replenished. Change in the current approach to handling the issue of deforestation is needed urgently.

Humans should never forget about their responsibilities to protect nature and improve the conditions they create when they want to use the land for a living. Many universal rights are broken because of the necessity to achieve certain economic and financial benefits. Soybean production is a good chance for farmers to feed their animals and save their money and for landowners to earn from their properties. Some supermarkets and suppliers believe that the presence of deforestation-free products is a step forward to reduce the number of negative effects of deforestation and soybean as its indirect cause.

In the article “Blinding Consumers to the True Cost of Soy?” published in Forests News October 2018, O’Connell explained that “two to four percent of global soy production is certified as responsible”, and consumers stay concerned if they are always able to find products which are emission- or deforestation-free (https://forestsnews.cifor.org/58107/blinding-consumers-to-the-true-cost-of-soy?fnl=en). Many people do not even guess how much soybean production they use daily. Therefore, this concern is usually treated as a hidden commodity that can be found in food, including chocolate or sausages, or cosmetics, including soap and shampoos.

In the modern world, people are obsessed with the idea of controlling everything. In the majority of cases, they do not think about their possibilities or obligations, just about the outcomes they want to achieve. The necessity to control environmental problems is one of the responsibilities that cannot be neglected. The governmental and certified environmentalists are close to the promotion of effective ideas. For example, the concern of deforestation because of the lack of governmental control was addressed in Brazil in 2006.

According to Jude H. Kastens, J. Christopher Brown, Alexandre Camargo Coutinho, Christopher R. Bishop, and Júlio César D. M. Esquerdo, the authors of the article “Soy Moratorium Impacts on Soybean and Deforestation Dynamics in Mato Grosso, Brazil” published April 2017 in PLOS ONE, SoyM was a helpful policy that aimed to “eliminate the incentive to eventually use newly deforested lands for soybean production” (P 17).

This document has an impact on a general attitude towards the problem of deforestation because of soybean production. Still, the government gives no guarantees to society that sellers or farmers try or want to search for new options to continue developing their business. This kind of reaction indicates the disinterest in achieving ecological means of production, maybe due to their perceived economic inefficiency or because of a feeling of contentment with the current state of events.

The resolution of the current environmental crisis based on deforestation and agricultural expansion is not an easy task. As elaborated by Baron et al., “local communities and small farmers are the source of the majority of fires because they do not have the same means as agro-industries to get access to the land” (https://theconversation.com/no-palm-oil-is-not-responsible-for-40-of-global-deforestation-78482).

This quote suggests that ecological disasters caused by destructive acts such as cutting down or burning trees are caused by a lack of tools and an uneducated approach to production. To change any of this, it is necessary to take serious action on a high level and even involve people from different countries. Therefore, it is not enough to stop palm oil production in Asian countries but to dig deeper and discover which countries are the main users of this type of oil. This route of action allows addressing not the effect but the cause of the issue, thus attempting to remove the root of the problem, rather than its effects.

Governmental control is the necessary improvement to reduce the number of activities were cutting down of trees is welcomed. Strategic management is a step with which the reduction of palm oil production begins. Even though societies have several specific laws and policies that regulate their trade and manufacturing relationships, the lack of strategies and clear examples prevent the population from understanding the problem.

The solution is to create a guide according to which farmers, landowners, and sellers should work. These plans include enough statistical information to prove the correctness of the chosen direction, the presence of certain profits, and evidence of being sustainable doers of action. When people refuse to use the products of organizations that break the law, deforested palm oil production will be decreased.

Timber harvesting is another problem with no effective solution being developed in Asian and African countries. When many trees are destroyed because of the necessity to gather timber, it is hard to make calculations and recognize the effects of activities. Documentation and credible records are required to obtain the necessary control. In the world of current progress and technological advance, there is a chance to find out technology and prove its appropriateness for the discussion of deforestation concern. A blockchain is the solution when all records about land use are unalterably available and easily traced.

Samantha Radocchia, the author of the article “How Deforestation and Timber Issues Can Be Battled with Blockchain” published in Forbes 15 May 2018, defined a blockchain as the technology that aims to “provide more accurate records, increase transparency into timber supply chains, and incentivize better behavior from participants in the logging industry” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/samantharadocchia/2018/05/15/how-deforestation-and-timber-issues-can-be-battled-with-blockchain/#49c72aab5347). This approach is effective for controlling the demand for palm oil, deforested areas, and concomitant products. Its peculiar feature is that some sellers or farmers remain unaware of this recording system but can be legally punished because of breaking the established norms.

The combination of the specified tools is expected to increase the chances of reducing the current levels of deforestation. Particularly, with the introduction of Blockchain technology into the process of managing economic transactions within the Brazilian market, one can create the tools for addressing the problem of deforestation on the level of resource usage. As a result, the timber supply chain management and the related processes will become visible to the state government, which will allow controlling them more rigid and preventing the instances of illegal timbers. This kind of visibility provides regulatory forces with direct access to evidence of malpractice, permitting them to take quicker action and making information accessible on a more extensive, even higher than the national level.

Furthermore, the specified technology provides a chain of custody for the timber materials that appear within the supply chain and are transported within it. The specified solution will allow establishing control over the issue of deforestation, which is currently growing out of proportion on a global level.

In the face of existing efforts to solve the problem of deforestation, soybean production remains a concern that bothers millions of people around the globe. The decision to focus on yield increase instead of land expansion is made. The investigation developed by Verena Fehlenberga, Matthias Baumanna, Nestor Ignacio Gasparrib, Maria Piquer-Rodrigueza, Gregorio Gavier-Pizarrod, and Tobias Kuemmerlea that presented in the article “The Role of Soybean Production as an Underlying Driver of Deforestation in the South American Chaco” in Global Environmental Change 2017, “soybean area and soybean yield were both positively related to deforestation” (P 29).

The essence of the cattle industry and deforestation has already been changed and proved as a serious threat to the ecosystem, and it is time to think about how to replace negative outcomes with positive alternatives. People must observe new options and understand their role in changing the environment. Although it is impossible to stop using soybean products, there is a chance to change the approach to cultivation and expansion. Soyo is not the last achievement that can be made in the field, and it is the responsibility of humans to discover another way of treating nature.

Finally, the role of the government in controlling soybean production and deforestation activities has to be improved. Economic and environmental changes influence the quality of human life, and society should understand the direct and indirect impacts of their actions and solutions. A government, as a reflection of its people, should presumably be demonstrative of society-wide ecological consciousness, resulting in a joint effort to battle man-caused natural disasters.

Radocchia further confirms this by elaborating that “solving the deforestation crisis is going to take willpower from everyone involved—consumers, governments and business interests” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/samantharadocchia/2018/05/15/how-deforestation-and-timber-issues-can-be-battled-with-blockchain/#49c72aab5347). The creation of new movements is a solution that does not cost a thing to an ordinary person. Regular open meetings and the discussion of problems may contribute to the further development of the relationships between a human and nature. Governmental bodies, in their turn, promote the creation of new laws and certificates to measure trade relationships between farmers and sellers. Questions like who chooses the land for deforestation, or why land protection does not work, as it should exist.

The use of actual data, the introduction of credible statistics, and the development of public questionnaires or interviews are the steps that are not hard to take. The results obtained from such research methods may change public opinions. It is the goal that has to be achieved at this moment of investigation when people understand that deforestation has both direct and indirect causes, the majority of which is hardly recognized.

In general, deforestation remains a significant environmental problem that requires multiple approaches for its solution. The progress of society through the use of new technologies, strategies, and operations cannot be neglected, but its impact on the environment and natural sources remains unpredictable and usually negative. The destruction of trees cannot be avoided when people contribute to manufacturing, researching, or food production.

However, when much land is deforested because of these needs, it becomes an inevitable global concern with many factors, including palm oil plantations, timber harvesting, and soybean production, causing deforestation. Deforestation because of palm oil may be controlled in case-specific strategic steps are taken. Management of human and natural resources is a significant step in solving the problem of cutting trees. Timber harvesting can be recorded to identify its impact on forests, and a blockchain is a solution for this case. It is recommended to focus on soybean yield instead of simple land expansion.

The role of the government and the development of new policies to regulate human behaviors and trade relationships should be elaborated. Deforestation is characterized by advantages such as working places, and thus people continue supporting it, not recognizing the truth that their actions change the climate and lead to natural disasters. Humans should take responsibility for every made decision to destroy a tree. A reverse action like planting a new one is not enough, and such steps as certification, new technologies, and strategies help achieve the desired results.

Works Cited

Baron, Victor et al. “,” The Conversation. 2017. Web.

Byrne, Jane. “” Feed Navigator. 2018. Web.

Carlson, Kimberly M., et al. “Effect of Oil Palm Sustainability Certification on Deforestation and Fire in Indonesia,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2018, Vol. 115, No. 1: 121-126.

Fehlenberg, Verena, et al. “The Role of Soybean Production as an Underlying Driver of Deforestation in the South American Chaco,” Global Environmental Change 2017, No. 45: 24-34.

Fitzgerald, Jaclyn. “” HI Pages. 2018. Web.

Fritts, Rachel. “,” Pacific Standard. 2018. Web.

Kastens, Jude H., et al. “Soy Moratorium Impacts on Soybean and Deforestation Dynamics in Mato Grosso, Brazil,” PLOS ONE 2017, Vol. 12, No. 4: 1-21.

Kelly, Meg. “,” Washington Post. 2018. Web.

O’Connell, Erin. “” Forests News. 2018. Web.

Radocchia, Samantha. “,” Forbes. 2018. Web.

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