Preventing forest dieback - Causes and measures everyone can take

Forests must be protected in Germany as well as worldwide. We have known this at the very latest since the forest fires in the Amazon region. Here's what each and everyone of us can do against forest extinction 

forest dieback

Forests die in both, Germany and worldwide at a rapid pace. At the same time, the preservation of forests is one of the most efficient measures for climate protection. At around 70%, they form the largest carbon dioxide (CO2) storage system on the planet and cover around 30% of the earth's surface. Since the forest fires in the Amazon, these findings have increasingly been communicated nationally and internationally and require for everyone to rethink on a personal level. We show reasons and causes for forest dieback and what each individual can do about it.

What is logging, deforestation and forest dieback?

Logging, deforestation and forest extinction are the mass destruction of forests in order to sacrifice long-term advantages over short-term profit. According to the World Bank, the world lost 1990 million square kilometers of forest between 2016 and 1,3 - an area larger than South Africa. Since the start of deforestation, 46% of all trees have been felled and losses continue to rise.

forest dieback

Image source: NABU Federal Association

Reasons and causes of deforestation

Agriculture is one of the most serious causes of deforestation and affects forest extinction in Germany as well as worldwide. It demands large areas of land to grow plants such as soy, palm trees or cereals. In Malaysia and Indonesia, deforestation mainly takes place to produce palm oil, which is contained in shampoos, for example. Cattle breeding also plays a role in deforestation. In the Amazon region, livestock farms are the main cause of forest death.

Urban sprawl and urbanization, i.e. the spreading of cities, also contribute to deforestation. People are taking up more and more living space for urban development and often do not pay much attention to the prevailing forests at the given locations. Countless trees are felled every year for wood and paper products that are delivered all over the world. Illegal traders even build extra roads to gain access to increasingly remote forests and continue to cut down trees. However, not all deforestation is intended. Forest fires, for example, appear as "natural" factors - the causes are nevertheless mostly a combination of human and natural factors.

Consequences and what you can do as a consumer

Since all forests worldwide influence the greenhouse gas balance, deforestation and forest extinction have a major impact on global warming.

This is done in two ways:

  • On the one hand, carbon dioxide, which trees store, gets back into the atmosphere when they are cut down. There, it prevents geothermal energy or solar radiation from escaping. To a certain extent, this is very useful, but if the dose of carbon dioxide is too high, it can lead to drastic heating of the earth.
  • On the other hand, less forests obviously mean a larger amount of greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere - otherwise trees would store them for many years.

Global warming and forest dieback have consequences for the inhabitants of this earth. Forests make up the habitat of over 80% of all living beings and plants on land. As a result, around 4000-6000 of the species of the rainforest die out every year. Species threatened by deforestation include the orangutan, the sumatran tiger and many bird species. Removing trees also deprives the forest of parts of its canopy, which blocks the sun's rays during the day and stores the heat at night. This disturbance leads to ever more extreme temperature fluctuations, which can be harmful to plants and animals.

Around 250 million people who live in forest and savanna areas also rely on the existence of the forests. The South American rainforest, for example, influences regional and national water cycles and is therefore the key to water supply in Brazilian cities and neighboring countries.

 

What consumers can do

The effects are enormous, but not irreversible: Fortunately, there are several ways for consumers to encounter forest dieback. On the one hand, it makes sense to pay close attention to the origin and quality of products as well as meats and to look for sustainably produced sources. For example, non-profit organizations of the Forest Stewardship Council and the Rainforest Alliance label certified products. On the other hand, there are numerous projects in which everyone can participate. For example, East African Ethiopia has planted 350 million trees across the country with the help of volunteers. The world record was broken in just twelve hours.

Here are the top companies that are committed to planting trees:

  1. Ecosia - Search engine that plants a tree for every search
  2. Tentree - A tree is planted for each item of clothing sold
  3. Eden reforestration - One of the largest charities for planting trees, donate XNUMX Dollar and you're in
  4. Nabu - Gives away a forest sponsorship with the German Nature Conservation Association
  5. F3 Life - Promotes loans for small farmers worldwide and has won the United Nations Development Award
  6. Biocarbon Engineering - Develops new technologies to make it possible to plant large trees, for example with drones

Protect forests in Germany and worldwide

Forest death is advancing at a rapid pace year after year - although the hope for a better climate lies in our forests. Instead of betting on short-term profit, it is time to take long-term benefits into account and consciously face up to responsibility as a consumer - for the environment, animals and fellow human beings.

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