Rainforest deforestation is as old as civilization. Whenever cities have needed more fuel and more space they just go and chop down a piece of forest. This has had serious consequences in the past. The Middle East and Sahara desert were once heavily forested areas. They became desert at the hand of man. However until recently deforestation only had local impacts, it was never a global issue.
Civilization has expanded to the point now where there is no more space on this planet left to grow into. There are no new continents to go and discover. Our penchant for growth means we are zeroing in on the last remaining rainforests for timber and space for more farmland.
This is a serious problem for the future of the earth’s biosphere and the integrity of the ecosystems that dwell in it. If we keep destroying our last remaining rainforests the water cycle will be disrupted, farmland will become unproductive and the land will become an eroded desert.
The Role Of The Rainforest
Rainforests act as a water filter. They prevent the groundwater from becoming too salty by keeping the salts deep in the earth. When the rainforest in razed the salts rise to the surface. This makes water undrinkable and prevents crops from growing in fields.
Many timber companies that cut down old growth forests justify their actions be claiming that replanting new trees mitigates the damage. But reseeded saplings cannot replace a rainforest. They cannot perform the same functions. They have less leaf surface area than rainforest trees and because they lack diversity they are extremely vulnerable to infection.
A Deep Ecological Attitude Towards Rainforests
Conventional ecological thinking would argue that we must save the rainforests because they are crucial to human survival. That is true. But deep ecological thinking would go further to say that these are not our forests in the first place.
Humans do not own the world or own the forests. It is not our prerogative to decide what their fate is. Rainforests are home to millions of plant and animal species. They deserve the right to flourish and nothing gives us the right to take that away from them.
Rainforest deforestation has to stop for the good of the biosphere and so humans can stop destroying creation and take their place as a functional member of the community of life.