Are we killing ourselves by using too much wood?

Green symbolizes well-being and is the colour of nature, fertility, harmony, peace, health and life. If you are not willing to go into such mundane definition of its essence just think about the importance of plants as taught to you in your initial days of introduction to Science. The emphasis put on the necessity of having plants and huge trees around you was not to enhance the uses of it for food, clothing, coal, biofuel, paper, furniture, wood, decoration, soil stabilization and oxygen, but to instill in you the value of it as a nature’s gift. Promoted as one of the first essential lessons in knowing your planet, life on Earth is at the mercy of the colour green. We are probably too mature for the litany of uses of plants but that is exactly what the need of the hour is. The large scale deforestation has sent an alarming wave of devastating repercussions all over the globe and the global warming, reduced global GDP, degradation of the living standards of the world’s poor are only a famous few.

It is not to escape into a moment of serenity in the woods or to go on an intrepid adventure into the wild or for the ephemeral solitude under a decorated canopy that the importance of forest should dawn upon you; the practical role that the presence of forests plays in spite of its no direct involvement with us requires our ardent attention. You might not belong to the tribal communities who are being denied of a place to live because of the increasing deforestation, or be a part of the industries directly dependent on forest products but if you are alive, that is a reason enough for you to care. Because the repercussions of the disappearance of greenery from the face of Earth is part of everyone’s story on the planet and that means me and you and the animals and the birds and the insects too.

The process of deforestation which stands to denote the clearing or destruction of Earth’s forest reserves for various purposes of meeting with people’s demand of products made from trees and woods is seriously interfering with the cycle of life on Earth. Deforestation can also be defined as the change of use of land from forestry to non-forest use. The in total effect of deforestation is too massive to even be summarized in one go as it affects all the aspects of the condition of our planet. However, some of the most pressing results of deforestation as it happens at a scale of the loss of 12-15 million of hectares of forest each year are discussed here.

Deforestation results into a decline in the biodiversity as the forests are being cleared depriving animals and other wildlife species of their shelter making them more vulnerable to being hunted and also creating the circumstances for them to encroach upon human habitat. Keeping in mind that 80% of the world’s documented species can be found in the rainforests, it is a serious threat to biodiversity. The cutting down of trees also play a role in the climate change due to global warming as the trees regulate the carbon cycle by converting the carbon dioxide in the air into oxygen. Now, the lesser number of trees with people exploiting its purposes has lead to 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions as there is an excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to various human activities. Soil erosions as the protection of the trees from the soil is removed, land slide, and change in water cycle as it does not evaporate ground water are some of the other risks. The reduced oxygen production denies every living being of standard heath conditions, apart from rendering many a communities homeless and without a livelihood. The temperature swings as part of the global climate change has a much deeper an impact in disrupting the ecological system. As forest lands run the risk of becoming barren deserts with no rain and frequent soil erosion, the picture is alarming.

One growing and flourishing industry of such related items is the furniture or home decorator industry that provides finished wooden products to build and decorate your homes with. Now this can mean that you have an exquisite taste in interior decoration and a fine sense of designing a perfect home. It is expensive, true, but if you think of making a statement that way then chances are that you are not even close to being aware of the price you pay or for that matter, we all pay.  The extensive uses of woods in flooring, making furniture, various artworks or the obsession with it are driving us all towards a grim future. This style of home building being affordable by mostly the rich is a popular fashion statement that is being copied on a large scale as wood becomes available to all while the market fails to evaluate the real price of the natural resource.

Other uses of woods as utensils, tools, sports equipments, toys, fuel, paintings, sculptures, music instruments, furniture etc. do not seem to go down anytime soon and it only happens to grow day by day. Maybe some of the uses of woods are a modern requirement and it cannot be curbed through enforcements but as a responsible member of the social community, the onus is on us to choose a replacement whenever it be possible. There is warmth and sophistication in choosing a perfect wooden setting but the satisfaction is hollow as it renders itself meaningless with the risk it subjects us all to. It is necessary that we curb the use of wood through switching to alternative products whenever we can as every tree that goes down pushes us further towards dying a slow gloomy death.


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