For various economic reasons, forests about 5 times the size of Turkey have been destroyed during the period 1990-2020.
Forests in the prevention of climate change ‘natural pharynx‘ is extremely important, but ‘DeforestationThe loss of forest areas, expressed as ‘, also triggers climate change.
Istanbul Cerrahpaşa University Faculty of Forestry Lecturer Prof. Dr. Doganay Tolunay, explained the critical role of forests in preventing climate change and the importance of protecting forest areas.
The United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization, the largest and most important forestry organization, defines deforestation, “loss of quality of a forest area for at least 10 years‘, Tolunay explained that trees help reduce global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Tolunay, on the other hand, pointed out that deforestation triggers climate change and continued his speech as follows:
“Deforestation occurs when forest areas are cut down for various reasons. One of these reasons is the objective of gaining new agricultural and livestock land. These forests are felled to plant palm trees, cocoa trees or transformed into livestock farms. Another reason is that there are mines in these areas. Mining activities seriously damage forests, especially in Africa. On the other hand, the trees of the tropical forests are particularly valuable. It makes a lot of money in the market. To this end, underdeveloped countries in particular are reducing forests for this timber revenue.”
Sharing the information that the amount of deforestation worldwide in the period 1990-2020 is 420 million hectares, Tolunay said: “Turkey has an area of 78 million hectares. If we look closely, a forest area almost 5 times that of Turkey has disappeared in 30 years. Annually, this corresponds to approximately more than 10 million hectares.” mentioned.
Tolunay noted that the majority of this figure is seen in tropical rainforests, which are the most important ecosystems in the world, especially in the rainforests of Africa and South America.
Stating that there are 22.9 million hectares of forest area in Turkey according to official figures, Tolunay said: “Until the end of 2020, 748,000 hectares of forest area in Turkey lost its quality due to non-forest activities. Expressed in terms of area, these areas, which were lost from the 1970s until the end of 2020, correspond to the area of the province of Artvin.“He gave the information.
THE EFFECT OF FORESTS IN PREVENTING CLIMATE DISASTERS
Recalling that there is an increase in extreme weather events due to climate change, Tolunay emphasized that natural ecosystems prevent disasters such as floods, droughts and hail, and said:
“For example, forests slow down the speed of precipitation with their hills during heavy downpours. The rain falls on the ground. In addition, the leaves leak water into the soil like humus. It is also very important that water seeps into the ground in times of drought, because you are feeding the ground water table. At the same time, the water does not cause flooding because it penetrates the ground. Currently, forests are the most important tools at our disposal to fight climate change as humanity.“
LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY THROUGH DEFORESTATION
Tolunay pointed out that deforestation also has disadvantages in terms of biodiversity.
Stating that the species had to migrate due to deforestation, Tolunay said that while there are various obstacles in the migration routes, their migration is incomplete and their connection to water sources may be severed.
Tolunay said that living things had to live in very small populations because they could not communicate with other individuals of their own species, “These cause the extinction of the endangered species. It is also stated by the scientific community that two-thirds of living species could be threatened with extinction by 2100 due to deforestation and habitat fragmentation.” mentioned.
“WE CANNOT FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE BY PLANTING SEEDS”
Tolunay said that although countries have pledged to stop forest loss, there are no sanctions in international conventions for this.Countries are saying “We will do our best”, but we also see that little is being done. There has been a decrease in deforestation in recent years, but we also see that it has not been completely stopped. Areas that were previously unforested are forested, but newly created forests do not respond to deforestation.“, he assessed.
Tolunay concluded his remarks as follows:
“We have a carbon footprint, we increase emissions into the atmosphere every year by using fossil fuels directly or by overconsumption. As individuals, companies and countries, something like this is thought; like we can prevent climate change by planting trees in response to the greenhouse gas emissions we produce. Trees do not have the ability to store as much carbon. We cannot fight climate change by planting saplings. For this reason, we must first reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.“