How Forests Ameliorate The Environment

By Muhammad Haider Ali

How Forests Ameliorate The Environment

At the time of independence of Pakistan we have a significant area under forest cultivation but unfortunately, it is less than 4.5% now. A number of forest areas partially or even completely destroyed and changed into different other land uses for human purpose. The best example is colonization of Islamabad city which was totally green forest area but changed into a well developed city and finally capital of Pakistan. Mostly deforestation (cutting of trees) is done for the personal benefit which ultimately causes more drastic results than benefits. It results in present situation of pollution, uneven rainfalls, floods, soil erosion, destruction of watersheds of dams, filling of dams with mud, decreasing capacity of dams, more chances of destructive floods, smoke, fog, elevated level of carbon dioxide gas, many dangerous and greenhouses gases and overall changing climate specially rising temperature. These all mentioned and many other problems are gifted us by deforestation. After realizing the situation many governmental and private schemes launched for reforestation, irrigated forests but the rate of deforestation not reduced. Every day a number of trees are cut down for many purposes such as timber production, fuel wood generation, for the cultivation of agricultural crops, for roads making (especially motorways and highways), for industrialization, colonization, and urbanization.

Reduce Temperature:

                 Today global warming is the main issue of climate change which is average increase in earth’s temperature. Mostly researchers showed that it is increasing due to deforestation with high rate and unawareness of reforestation. Forests reduce the local temperature and if present in suitable percentage will bring about reasonable change in overall temperature. Trees evaporate water which produces cooling effect. Similarly, grasses and crops also act as same. This evaporated water from plants finally cause rainfall. In hilly areas, the local environment is not only cool due to elevation but also due to intense vegetation and plantation. Plants directly reduce temperature by evaporation, trapping warm air, cleaning and filtering air and indirectly by increasing moisture and rainfall. They cause humid cool steady air flow and protects from warm turbulent flows of air. 

Carbon Sequestration

                                    The second thing is greenhouse effect which ultimately results in global warming. Green house effect is caused by different gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, oxides of sulphur, oxides of nitrogen and water vapors but main cause is carbon dioxide which is released by human activities. It not only effects the local environment but also national and even at international level environmental changes. China is largest carbon dioxide emitter followed the United States and the European Union. The fossil fuel burning in industries and domestic level causes a large amount of carbon dioxide production. Similarly, automobiles burning and energy production sector emits large quantities of carbon dioxide. But the carbon dioxide absorbers are only plants (forests). Sequestration term is used to bind to engage something in permanent manner for long period of time and carbon sequestration means dumping of carbon dioxide for long period of time which is done by forests. So by increasing number of trees or area under forest, we can reduce carbon dioxide which ultimately reduces greenhouse effect and finally global warming (average earth’s temperature).

Influence on Pollution

Air Pollution:

                  Accumulation of vast range of dangerous inorganic gases, organic materials, dust particles, heavy metals, smoke from fuel burning, smoke from transportation sector, chemicals released by industries and fog etc. termed as air pollution. Some major air pollutants are; carbon dioxide CO2, carbon monoxide CO, oxides of sulphur, oxides of nitrogen, inorganic Metallic Substance etc. Plants act like air conditioners and air cleaners and absorb these dangerous substances or may change them into non-dangerous substances. They reduce solar intensity, local temperature, soil erosion and soil evaporation and increase precipitation and rainfall.

Water Pollution:

                 Accumulation of different contaminants such as heavy metal, toxic chemicals, untreated industrial water and domestic sewage water cause water pollution. Another factor is uncontrolled algal growth due to excess of nutrients causes water pollution. This waste and polluted water finally reaches in rivers and deteriorate our natural resources of fresh water. On the other hand, it also leaches down and causes contamination of ground water which results in different epidemics of diseases related to polluted water e.g. diarrhea. Plants act as water filters, absorb water from soil and transpire into air causes moisture and rainfall and accumulate significant amount of water in their systems. The forests protect watersheds of our dams and avoid pollution and filling of dams with mud. They also protect nearer areas from dangerous floods and bind soil firmly and reduce soil erosion. Water runoff can be controlled by the plantation of trees and grasses which slow down the speed of running water and increase seepage. The seepage water enhances groundwater which is free from contaminants. It may be ooze out naturally through springs in hilly areas or may be pumped by force and can be used for all purposes like drinking, washing or irrigation agricultural fields.

Noise Pollution:

                  In modern era, we totally depend upon heavy traffic for traveling and transport which is not only polluted our air but also cause noise pollution, especially in urban areas. Plants absorb the sound and reduce noise pollution. If deciduous trees are planted along roads and in green belts by proper planning and management they not only reduce noise pollution but also purify the air and make micro humid environment and bring about natural beauty for travelers during journey.

“Take a Walk in the Forest and Smell the Wild Air”

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