DE­FOR­ESTA­TION

New Straits Times - - Opinion -

DE­FOR­ESTA­TION is the act of for­est clear­ing for agri­cul­tural, log­ging or ur­ban de­vel­op­ment. De­for­esta­tion al­ters cli­mate, veg­e­ta­tion and an­i­mal ecol­ogy.

In Malaysia, trees are logged for their high eco­nomic value.

Non-sus­tain­able for­est open­ing or de­vel­op­ment has led to en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems, namely soil ero­sion, land­slides and flood­ing.

In such sit­u­a­tions, bio­di­ver­sity van­ishes if no ini­tia­tive is taken to pre­serve or nur­ture it.

When trees are re­moved with­out man­age­ment or mon­i­tor­ing prac­tices, more car­bon diox­ide is re­leased into the air.

De­for­esta­tion is the sec­ond largest an­thro­pogenic source of car­bon diox­ide in the at­mos­phere, rang­ing from six per cent to 17 per cent.

A large por­tion of this caused by il­le­gal log­ging.

Keeren S. Ra­joo, a PhD can­di­date from the Depart­ment of Bi­ol­ogy, Fac­ulty of Science, Univer­siti Pu­tra Malaysia, said de­for­esta­tion that fo­cused on high-value species could cause the se­lec­tive clear­ing of im­por­tant tree species.

Th­ese are of­ten large, long-liv­ing, seed-pro­duc­ing trees. This loss of struc­tural, habi­tat and seed sources will leave forests less sta­ble and pro­duc­tive.

Also, canals and trails are of­ten made to cut deep into forests. This re­sults in low­ered wa­ter lev­els and in­creased hu­man ac­cess into forests, which can ex­pe­dite il­le­gal hunt­ing and other de­struc­tive ac­tiv­i­ties.

The most widely ac­cepted cause of il­le­gal log­ging is profit. Il­le­gally-har­vested tim­ber is more prof­itable as there is no ex­pen­di­ture on ob­tain­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion or tax­a­tion.

Re­ports have shown that half of the trees il­le­gally re­moved from for­est are used as fuel.

This is true for forests that

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