Tropical Deforestation

Pierina Staub, Switzerland

Tropical deforestation and its impacts

We all know about the problems with the deforestation in our world. It reduces the amount of produced oxygen in the atmosphere through plants and due to this our earth, along with other factors, becomes more and more polluted. But in the tropical rainforests we face another, totally different problem.

Because of the high precipitation and humidity around the equator, the nutrients in the soil get continuously washed away. That means that most nutrients, which are essential for new growing plants, are found in the biomass like plants, dead animals and decomposing organisms. So if we cut down all the trees and plants in the tropical rainforests, nothing will be able to exist because the nutrients were cut out of the cycle. Contrary to the environment for example in Europe, the organisms can’t rehabilitate and the whole forest dies off.

The market for palm oil is booming right now. You can find the oil in any product like Nutella, usually convenience food, lipsticks and far more. These palms are planted in huge areas in the tropical rainforest and their planting area is increasing exponentially . In Malaysia alone 4.917 million hectares are planted and 20,000,000 tons of palm oil get exported every year. Of course all farmers and owners of these plantations want to earn as much money as possible and don’t care about the problems they need to face. The most dangerous thing is the slash-and-burn agriculture.  Huge areas are burnt down and very often the fire rages out of control. The social, climatic and environmental impacts are immense; species die out, people have to leave their homes, thousands of orangutans get killed every year and the entire ecosystem is destroyed.

But how can we stop this process? The first thing for us would be to stop buying products which contain palm oil and for all governments to push through laws to forbid slash-and-burn or to protect new integral nature reserves. It is very important that all humans become informed about these problems so that we can act all together against the destruction of our earth’s forests and wildlife.


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