8 basic ways to prevent deforestation

There have been so many discussions about the effects of deforestation on our environment. These effects range from alarming to catastrophic. We’ve read headlines showing how much damage natural disasters have done. Flashfloods have not only damaged millions of properties around the world, but also accumulated lives. Landslides have done the same. These two are the result of nature’s imbalance – they are the effects of deforestation.

Deforestation is the conversion of areas of forest into residential or industrial areas. More and more businessmen are moving through forests to get more land. Environment is sacrificed in exchange for profit. And this is a most disturbing fact.

As an individual or as part of the global community, you can do something to help prevent deforestation. You may not be able to fight illegal loggers with your bear hands, but with some basic manners you can make a difference – no matter how small. Here’s a list:

1. If deforestation is a negative event, a positive event must occur to counter its effects: reforestation. Plant trees and start them in your garden. Trees release oxygen essential to human existence and in turn capture the carbon dioxide that humans and animals exhale. Trees also help to hold water in the roots. With this simple action you can prevent soil erosion, the cause of landslides!

2. Use recycled items such as books or notepads, toilet paper, and even shopping bags. If possible, do not waste any of these products so that no new raw material is needed to replace them.

3. If you are a farmer (or if you know someone who works as a farmer), try to rotate your crops. Instead of using a different piece of land each year, why not use the same piece of land for different crops? This practice also helps maintain soil fertility. Due to the change of crops, there is not only a variation in the harvest every year, there is also the possibility to keep that piece of land for as long as possible.

4. Cut only mature trees. Don’t kill baby trees. And for every tree that is lost, plant one as a replacement.

5. Join environmental awareness groups that can help you be a reforestation advocate. In Washington, specifically at Washington Middle School, there was a group of students who set up a service-learning project. In their project, they asked each person for a penny. They explained that this money would help buy acres of Amazon rainforest. Once this continues, no deforestation can take place in that purchased area.

6. There is a report that more and more trees are being cut down to produce palm oil in Indonesia and Malaysia. This massive destruction in the forests of both countries resulted in the loss of habitat for the native orangutans. With the loss of more trees, more animals become homeless. You cannot avoid this completely, but you can limit your consumption of products containing palm oil, such as bread, chocolates and even some cosmetics such as shampoo, soap or toothpaste. As for your food consumption, you can start with a diet of roasted or boiled foods instead of frying them.

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7. Instead of firewood, use coal to heat up your fireplaces during the winter season. Remember it only takes a few hours to consume the firewood, but it would take years to grow a single tree. Think twice before buying firewood again.

8. Support laws or programs made to protect forests and prevent any form of deforestation. Programs such as the Tropical Forestry Action Plan have made a big difference in the way deforestation is viewed today. This program was at the forefront of the debate on tropical deforestation.

It is imperative to know that there is no such thing as a small, insignificant act when it comes to curbing deforestation. No matter how small your act is, the most important thing is that ‘every act can make a difference’. Deforestation can be prevented and you can play an active role in achieving it.