Deforestation in the news

Just a quick post about a couple of news articles I found today about deforestation. They both show the far reaching consequences that deforestation can have.

Fish surveyed in the study. Image from: http://www.bbc.co.uk

This first article indicates that fish are impacted by deforestation. This is not really that surprising when you think about it. The bottom of the food chain relies on an input of carbon from somewhere, and it was assumed by many that algae was the main source. However these findings suggest that decomposing leaves and other detritus from trees actually provide a large amount of organic carbon. In fact some fish were found to have almost 70% of their biomass originating from carbon found in trees. With less food available to plankton, one can assume there will be fewer and smaller plankton. This means less food for fish and therefore more fish with a lower body mass than would be expected. The article can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27834440

Image from: en.wikipedia.org

The second article talks about how the recent ebola outbreak in Africa could be caused by deforestation. Continued deforestation in West Africa is bringing humans into contact with rare diseases which they wouldn’t normally come across. If deforestation continues at its current rate then I can only think that the outbreak are going to get worse. Ebola is thought to be carried by bats, and if their forest habitat is removed they are going to start frequenting rural communities more. This means humans are more likely to come into contact with the disease. In fact, mining in forests is increasing in popularity as a way to make a living. Those who mine and farm in deforested areas are the most likely to suffer an outbreak of ebola. The article can be found here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/07/08/how-deforestation-and-human-activity-could-be-to-blame-for-the-ebola-pandemic/

Charlie Hamilton-James. Image from: http://www.bbc.co.uk

Lastly you should try and see the BBC programme ‘I Bought a Rainforest’ if you haven’t already. It is a great 3 episode series following the exploits of cameraman Charlie Hamilton-James. The series illustrates the reality of protecting a forest from deforestation. People chop down trees illegally because they often have no other form of income, they don’t want to do it but have no choice in order to survive. Quite often drugs are grown on land that has been deforested because it fetches a good price. It just goes to show that all the legislation in the world can be made, but if it isn’t realistic then it won’t work. People need to earn money somehow, even if it means breaking the law.

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