Rapid urbanization and increased deforestation are phenomena that causes threat to the environment. What are the main three causes of rapid urbanization and how can we prevent (or reduce) deforestation to protect such valuable assets for future generations. Give examples from the US or different parts of the world to support your argument.
Save a Tree, Save the Planet
Trees are one of the most important plants on this world. They have a major affect in regulating climate change. Trees can absorb CO2 in large quantities; CO2 is a greenhouse gas that contributes greatly to climate change. Cutting down these trees, deforestation, can be very devastating to the environment. The three main reasons for deforestation include: cutting down trees for agriculture, to make room for urban areas, and for profit. A country that I want to put attention too that has major deforestation is Honduras. Honduras is one of the poorest countries in South America, and have lost more than 30% of its forest since 1990, with a 2.8% loss of forest every year forests are shrinking rapidly. A way that this damage can be minimized is through: the implementation of stronger regulation, reforestation, and recycling of wood products that are already in rotation.
Honduras is currently working on making deforestations less of in issue through grass roots movements that support the environment and tree preservation. The problem with this is that the government does not support these grassroots movements. The lack of support makes it easy for people to cut down trees with little no consequences. Honduras has a huge problem with illegal logging and deforestation. Regulating the cutting of trees can bring more protection to the trees. To regulate properly the Honduras government should make the cutting down of trees come at a high price, to deter people and business from cutting down the trees.
The next solution to the Honduras deforestation problem is reforestation. Reforestation is the planting of trees that have been cut down. Reforestation requires large groups to come together and plant trees for the best affect. The process of bringing the community together pushes a positive approach towards tree preservation. When people come together large environmental movements will happen. Reforestation should focus on planting trees that are local to the area, and focus on making sure that a tree is planted for all the trees that are cut down. Eventually Honduras will get to a point where there is no deforestation going on, at that point the country should start planting more trees to maximize tree recovery.
The last way to solve the problem of deforestation in this country is through the recycling and reducing wood products. Lowering the demand of trees by not using, as much one-time use wood products will make the cutting down of trees unnecessary. Also as a poor country I think it would be better for people of this country to buy products that they can reuse instead of buying and buying product that they cannot reuse. The recycling of current wood products would really benefit this country because again it is lowering the demand of cutting down wood. I think recycling paper and furniture and other materials would ease the pressure off of deforestation.
In conclusion Honduras is a country that is greatly suffering with deforestation, but does not have too. Through the implementation of stronger regulations, reforestation, and the recycling and reducing wood products this country can recover from its current state of affairs. Honduras can achieve a stability when it comes to tree sustainability.
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As the population continues to increase, so does the demand for the Earth’s resources. We are pumping water faster than it is being replenished, over producing food, and cutting down trees by the billions. Consumerism has lead to environmental issues that have been projected to significantly affect not only the planet but also the population.
An area of the environment that has been significantly affected by human activity are the forests. Trees take years to grow, but hundreds of acres are cut in a matter of minutes in order to meet demand. The shift from the pre-industrial era to the Industrial Revolution promoted the use of rapid urbanization. The shift meant migrations from rural areas to urban areas, employment opportunities, and a promotion of a more progressive lifestyle with economic developments through industrialization and commercialization. Urbanization is dependent on the Earth’s resources and is done so intensely that it depletes more than can be replenished. The cutting down of trees at such a high rate has lead to many physical changes in environments; and the biosphere in general.
The relationship between humans and the usage of trees for resources dates back thousands, if not millions of years ago. However, with a population increase and rapid urbanization, the result has been environmental degradation in the Earth’s forest. There are many forest around the world that are being threatened by the expansionary dynamics of consumerism and production. Once one resource is used up a new one is sought after to keep up with the demand. The deforestation in Greater Mekong is full of rich resources that many other forests have been stripped of. The ecological transformation in Greater Mekong over the past years is significant to its degraded forests. The area of the forest has become increasingly fragmented and has created isolated areas of river systems and landscapes. The weakened ecosystems of the area are exposed to the effects of climate change due to the loss of tree density and the release of CO2 into the atmosphere when large quantities of trees are cut down. The primary driving force towards deforestation in the area is short term environmental solutions that won’t benefit future generations and be sustainable for years to come. The forests are being turned into plantations and landscapes for infrastructure and aren’t replenishing the loss of forest. At this rate the Greater Mekong forest in a few decades could be facing only ⅔ of its current forest.
Although there seems to be many hopeless statistics about the future of the degraded forests, there are many countries working towards a solution. Brazil has had great success with reducing deforestation in many regions. The federal and state governments increased the number of protected forest reserves and this has greatly contributed to their decrease of deforestation. There have also been logging laws enacted to hold those accountable for contributing to deforestation and placing them with the reprecuations. The people protested and forming coalitions towards the issues of deforestation and Norway made it possible for them by investing in their goal for decreasing deforestation and stimulating their economy through other sources.
In the Amazon there have been efforts through research to identify the source of action that certain regions need in order to reach 0% deforestation by 2020. Regions have been broken up into three categories. Each category has a different goal unique to its area. There is the red zone which is land for agriculture and cities, the green zone are protected indigenous areas, and the yellow zone are areas that have not been formally protected. The plan is to expand the green zone, avoid deforestation in the yellow zone by getting investors to protect the lands through global initiatives and programs and encouraging nature’s benefits into economic systems, and for the red zone the plan is to promote sustainable production by limiting mining and growing sustainable crops like soy.
The solutions to deforestation aren’t black and white and can be predicted. But the initiative and nation collaboration can lead to a decrease of deforestation. By striving to protect regions of the forest and live more sustainable there could be a huge impact on the future of our environment.
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Urbanization & Deforestation
Archeological evidence dating several thousand years ago reveals that Homo sapiens, as well as our ancestors such as Homo neaderthalenesis were migratory species. Scientific researches suggest that early human species were involved in exploring their natural habitats for food, shelter, and trade with other groups. Throughout many generations due to curiosity, increased in population size, and constant search and competition for basic life supporting consumption (food and water) humans traveled across the globe to find better life.
Similar to our ancestors, modern humans continuing to move across the land in order to find better opportunities and improving their quality of life. However, unlike our pre-historic relatives who lived in harmony with the natural environment in order to sustain life, most of our current societies function separately and from the natural habitats; and every day, many people leaving their rural communities into urban areas as a result of economic pressures. In fact, in 2009 the United Nations and in 2015 the International Organization for Migration both estimated that “around 3 million people are moving to cities every week.” They continued stating that “approximately 54% of people worldwide now live in cities, up from 30% in 1950.” Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, people across England, Europe, and Northern America, following with many other parts of the world began moving into cities in order to find better economic opportunities. Even many of those who chose to stay in the countryside, eventually are relocating into the cities because they are no longer able to sustain their community lifestyle. Sociologists that are studying the global social change and organization, believe that some of the main causes for the process of urbanization are the constant pursuit for economic opportunity, corporate expansion and global trade – which relate to larger companies and governments that are taking over smaller business and gaining control over natural resources, and the rapid population growth. The further people are being separated from the natural environment, the harder it will be to protect ecological habitats and the global environmental balance.
The environmental impacts due to urbanization and population growth are now more than before affect our planet, as it produces air, water, and land pollutions and it causes the global temperature to rise. In addition, many forests are being clear-cut in order to build our cities, “freeing space” for cattle and for supporting the mass production of agriculture that require for food and resource supply. According to Nature Journal, 2015 there are around 3 trillion trees on our planet, and about 15 billion trees are cut down annually. Prior to 1630, one half of the United States land area was forest. Forests still cover about 30 percent of the world’s land area. According to a report issued by the World Bank, between 1990–2015 Latin America and the Caribbean experienced the biggest lost in forest area, losing 970,000 square kilometers.
There are several solutions that can drastically reduce deforestation, and protect woodlands for future generations. First, appoint governmental and global committees that will oversee the world’s forests. These agencies will create regulations and legislate laws that will insure the protection of forest from corporations that abuse these resources. For example, between 2005-2013 Brazil deforestation rate was down from 7,500 to 2,255 square miles, due to heavy pressure and regulations of the soybean and cattle industries by government and local agencies. Second, communities around the world should develop a long-term land-use planning. Instead of cutting trees to clear lands for urban sprawl, municipalities should regulate developers and builders to build new buildings around trees, and or relocate and plant new trees within new developments. Portland, Oregon which has also turned a freeway into a riverfront park, has the most trees inside a city in the United States. And lastly, is education. Educating children, students, and adults about recycle, reuse, and reduction of paper and wood will help reducing deforestation.
Trees are valuable for our ecological and environmental balance, as they improve air quality, provide oxygen, influence climate, provide water conservation, preserve soil, and support wildlife. Trees also reduce level of greenhouse gases, as they take in carbon dioxide. Therefore, having more trees can help us fight and delay global warming, and it will provide healthier and sustainable environment for all sorts of life.
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Friend of the Urban Forest, Greening San Francisco
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Professor Amir Gohar
3 March 2018
The Relationship Between Deforestation and Urbanization
It should be common knowledge that there is a strong correlation between urbanization and deforestation, but what causes this relationship? There are many things that lead to urbanization, which in turn leads to deforestation. The most prevalent of which is industrialization. With this issue in particular, there is a socioeconomic problem. Developing countries around the world are beginning to see economic growth through industrialization which could pull some of those countries which are impoverished out of poverty. The effects of industrialization are known by all environmental scientists, but where it becomes tricky is when we (presumably a developed and more environmentally conscious country,) attempt to tell a developing country to stop polluting when the industry that causes pollution may be the lifeblood of their economy. Take for example, China. In the 60s, 60% of the Chinese labor force was in agriculture. Now, this number is less than half that. The reason for this sharp decline is that China has just gone through an industrial revolution. This revolution saw more jobs pop up in cities, which led people to abandon rural lifestyles and move into the city where they pollute and grow at a much larger rate. The rural countryside around villages gets eaten up and essentially nature pays the price of the progress of man. All said, there is no easy fix to this problem so long as the people that take up the urban lifestyle are better off.
This leads to another cause of urbanization, the fact that employment opportunities are higher paying and more common in cities. For examples of this, we need to look no further than our own country. In the United State of America, the median salary for a farmer is just $40,000. This offers a very low incentive to follow this career path, especially considering how difficult farm work is.
The last of the three discussed causes of urbanization is access to better social benefits such as schools. This cause may be obvious, as a school is far more likely to be located near an urban area than they are in more rural areas. This is an extremely difficult cause to mitigate, as it would likely not be cost effective to have schools in rural areas. That said, the government could provide long distance transportation from rural to urban schools in an effort to further educate rural citizens. Overall, what we require is better infrastructure. As is the case in many socioeconomic issues, funding is lacking in many departments having to do with social justice and education. A department of the government that deals with the matter of urbanization is suggested, but a more realistic option would be to fund an existing department of the government such as the EPA to combat this type of situation.
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The rapid urbanization of the lands are caused by many problems, some inevitable consequences of growth and others avoidable mistakes that have been built up. The problems of urbanization are numerous, one being the deforestation of the woods and the increased need for resources. This rapid urbanization is caused by various problems from numerous sources. One of the causes would be the rapid increase of population and poor city planning. A second would be the need to change the areas, to transform rural areas into modern ones. Another cause would be the modernization and industrialization of cities that would need and consume copious amounts of a variety of resources. These issues bring forth more needs for land, resources, and producing more waste.
One of the main causes that has become a major problem of the rapid urbanization of certain areas is the increase in population in rural areas that demand more living space. This increase of population brings forth subsets of problems like the increase of consumption and waste, the expansion of land, and various health issues that may arise without proper sanitations. The population will increase regardless, but with proper city planning, the pressure of producing enough needs for the people would be decreased to sustainable levels. As population increases, the demand for food, space, and other necessities grows, and the need to supply those demands would grow as well. The resources to meet the demands of the population growth would come mostly from the lands that are next to it, primarily forests and woods. A solution to this problem would be better city planning and proper supply of resources. As the city grows in size, due to the population increasing, having buildings made to support multiple tenants and the means to transport the resources to them. The need to replenish the population’s needs would always be there, but with better management of supplies and planning, the pressure on the environment would be bearable.
The altering of an area into another one would require a lot of resources, time and manpower; however, this would ease the pressure off of the cities and metropolitan areas. The resources required to transform rural areas into either urban or suburban areas would be massive. With the need for raw materials increasing, the forests and woods would be cut down to meet those demands, as well as the earth underneath it. The time required for the building of the new area would not be enough to replenish the lands that have been used in order to obtain the materials. The lands would remain barren and lifeless even if there were new plants to take the old ones place. To alleviate to burden that is felt on the environment, a plan to transform rural areas one by one, with time allotted to have the forests and woods regrow to there former stature.
Another issue that has caused rapid urbanization and deforestation is the modernization and industrialization of an older city or country. The industrialization of a country or city starts to consume a great amount of resources to supply the need to produce the materials that are later used to create more products. The industrialization would be the next step for cities and countries that have moved from the agricultural economy. This shift in economies would need a massive force to maneuver and engineer the way to sustain itself, and this would bring forth a need for more people to drive the work force. The building up of the economy would first require sacrifices for the environment, like the inevitable waste and dump that comes from the products made by various industries. The waste could be offset in the future after the industrial age has been set, but that would shoulder the responsibilities to the next generation. The solution to the modernization and industrialization of the cities and countries would be to support the cities and countries that are going through it so to either lessen or leave no impact on the environment. This way, the countries and cities that are developing, can become industrialized without the worries of polluting the environment, and the developed countries can have the imports from those countries one some discount. Mutual benefits would guarantee that both countries would act amicable towards one another for the common goal of environmental harmony.
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Throughout history mankind has done one thing extremely successfully, grow. In recent years this growth has gotten out of control and only seems to be rising exponentially with each passing year. As the population of the world keeps climbing, so does the demand for resources. The main resource need to sustain this rapid development would be trees. From building housing to live in to providing oxygen to make life possible, trees are invaluable resources that we cannot afford to lose.
As the industrial revolution was in full swing in the U.S., many cities went through a period of rapid growth. This growth came from many individuals leaving their small rural communities in order to find higher paying jobs in industrialized cities. As well as these jobs offering a higher living wage, there was also a significantly larger opportunity to be able to find employment in the cities as opposed to rural local communities. Not only were there incentives for workers to come and build a new life in an urban environment, but their families also could benefit greatly from these newly developed urban cities. Living in these growing cities gave many families access to public schools and healthcare that normally they would have to travel miles for each day. Over time as cities became increasingly crowded, those who could afford it moved to the outskirts forming what we now know as suburbs. Over time the cycle continued as even the suburbs, that were supposed to be a get away from the city, became urban cities themselves causing more suburbs to develop around these new cities and so on.
This ever expanding growth has led to a lot of our natural resources being cleared out of the way to make room for new developments in order to keep up with urbanization. We are at a point in time now where it is crucial for us to cut back on our consumption of resources, trees mainly, and put in place a plan to ensure that we are not consuming more than we can produce. One way we can do this is through reforestation. By making sure that we are replenishing forests by planting trees at the same rate or more than we are harvesting them, we can create a sustainable practice that will make certain that future generations will have the resources that they will need for basic life.
Another way to combat deforestation would be to create protected zones, such as the amazon rainforest, that would make any sort of logging illegal. This not only helps conservation efforts for future generations, but also helps protect the wildlife that inhabit the area to see that these different species will not be lost in time due to careless human actions.