It may or may not be surprising, but the way industrialists grow food is killing our forests. It isn’t enough that the overuse of fertilizers, intensive industrial animal farming, our dependence on pesticides and herbicides, and the degradation of our soil has made viable, organic food crops more difficult to grow than ever, but these habits are also deforesting the planet at a distressing rate.
According to the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) the most prominent reasons for deforestation revolve around agriculture. While more than half the plants and animals of the entire world live in our tropical forests, we are converting forestland to farms, ranches, and urban sites, while completely wiping out entire swaths of trees for commercial use faster than we can re-grow them. Palm oil production in particular is linked to rainforest deforestation, slave labor, pollution, child labor, and the destruction of orangutan populations.
Forests are necessary to prevent large-scale extension of numerous animals, strange climactic changes, topsoil loss, flooding, famine, disease outbreaks, and insect plagues, as well as desertification of once beautiful lands. It can take 60 years to 4000 years and in a worst-case scenario, a whopping 45 million years to grow a perfect rainforest, but we can destroy one in a matter of weeks.
Subsistence farming is responsible for eliminating almost half of all the forests on this planet. Commercial agriculture is responsible for another 32% – so while logging and timber industries do some damage, we are quickly eliminating one of our most precious resources by utilizing non-sustainable farming methods. This interactive satellite map offered by the University of Maryland department of Geographical Sciences shows the worst damage, accumulating over 650,000 satellite images into a cohesive picture.
While one man in India has single-handedly planted a 1360 acre forest, we should act collectively to demand sustainable farming that won’t kill our trees and the myriad animals and plants that grow within our forests. It takes time for a sandbar to turn into a green Mecca, but a rainforest can’t just be replanted.
It takes time, and Mother Nature’s cycles to create such a masterpiece. Old Growth (also called virgin) and primeval forests should never be sacrificed for agricultural land. Further, sustainable land cultivation or permaculture should be utilized instead of wiping out a veritable medicine cabinet of herbs and other plants that modern science hasn’t even catalogued in our rainforests. Surgical patients even recover better when they have a woodland view.
GMO crops and commercial agriculture is bound to fail, but in the meantime, it is wiping out our forests. Agri-business has to be stopped. Our trees are begging for our help.