Header Ads

Man's Relationship with Nature - the Need for Afforestation and Deforestation


Man's Relationship with Nature - the Need for Afforestation and Deforestation.

Author: Alutu, Nicholas Chinaemelum

1.0    Introduction

Historically, man is nature and nature is man. This assertion is validated upon the fact that man originated from nature, is part of nature and is the exhibition of nature. In otherwords, man is part of nature as much as nature is part of man. This salubrious and unadulterated relationship between nature and man has sustained the human existence for a period of eon, until the sense of supremacy and dominance of man took over its better part. Thus man forgot the existential fact that human has been completely dependent on nature right from the moment of creation, hence the deep connection. However, in modern days, human activities through industrialisation, has weakened this connection. As an effect, human started depending on man-made industry in industrialized cities rather than pure nature; hence he had been gradually alienated from nature. The threat of this alienation was propagated by scholars of different fields such as psychology, philosophy, environmental sciences, etc, hence their attempt to revive human connection to nature. To corporate with those attempts, this paper is going to have a precise look at human/nature relationship and the need for afforestation and deforestation. The terminus a quo of this discussion is going to be a look at the background of human/nature relationship, to elucidate the history of this relationship. To surmount nature, and to bring its forces under our will has been the avowed purpose of mankind since the beginning of life, but it's about time we had a rethink on our perception of the benefits and responsibilities of holding dominion over all other created things. It is on this sense that this paper will shed light on the concept of afforestation and deforestation, it's need and it's promotion as a brilliant step towards the reconciliation between human nature. The paper concludes its discussion by making human aware about the importance and benefits of an intimate connection with nature and the need to preserve, nurture and promote forests, because of its relevance to human existence.


2.0    Human and Nature in History

In the exordium of The Restorative Environment Stephen Kaplan claims that "early human beings where part of nature" (134). It is an undeniable fact that throughout the history of the human life, man has been completely dependent on nature. Based on this, it won't be out of place to assert that the history of this relationship is as old as human history on the Earth planet. Man's life has been a dictate of the natural principles, and what he lives on is from natural provisions. Nature has supplied for and sustained the human existence. This stems from health benefits, social benefits, psychological and economical benefits. As a matter of fact, man had not done without nature. Nature provides children and adults with stimulations that is pleasurable, promotes a sense of well-being, and foster positive, psychological development. Nature has always been the best place in which human psyche can feel best. The influence of nature in the form of air we breathes, the water we drink, the food we eats and flow of energy and information, never eludes man's consciousness. Many of the challenges man has are a response to natural changes in the weather, radiation of cosmic energy and magnetic storms around the earth.

Quite unfortunate it is that this relationship of man with nature has historically been one of imbalance and overuse. This is based on the fact that man is not only a dweller in nature, but a transformer of same. An enormous amount of human labour has been spent on transforming nature. Nearly, every step in history has unfortunately been accompanied with a leap in environmental degradation. Humanity converts nature's wealth into the means of cultural historical life of society. Man has disciplined electricity and compelled it to serve the interests of society. Man changed the shape and climate of his habitation and transformed plants and animals.

This interaction is dialectical in such a way that as society grows, man tends to depend less on nature directly, while indirectly, his dependence grows. That is to say that as his transforming power increases, their contacts deepens. With the introduction of industrial revolution, whereby man terminates the existence of some of the natural bodies so as to dominate through civilization, came about the environmental degradation. Forests were turned to deserts and wild lifes faced the threat of extinction. The more man advances in his quest for civilization which is to the detriment of his co-natural habitants, the more need he has for them still. The drastic reduction in the existence of other natural resources brought about grave change in the climatic condition and hence the need for their reinstatement arouse.

At a time when great elemental forces are clamoring at the bars of our civilization we need to discard our ideas of attacking the forests, bringing the mighty rivers under subjection, conquering the mountains, and subduing the prairie. Instead, we need to make the most of all nature as an ally.


3.0    The Effects of Deforestation and the Need for Afforestation.

Afforestation is the establishment of a forest or stand of trees on land that has carried forest a long time ago and in an area where there was no previous tree cover. On the other hand, Deforestation is the clearing of virgin forests or intentional destruction or removal of trees and other vegetation for agricultural, commercial, housing or firewood use without replanting and without allowing time for the forest to regenerate itself.

Forests, which maintain conditions that make life possible, and also acts as sinks for carbon and other greenhouse gas especially are threatened with elimination. Globally, forests cover 30% of the total land area, which is approximately 4 billion hectares corresponding to 0.62 hectares per capita. According to history, specifically by 2005, deforestation rate was about 13 million hectares per year. This includes 6 million of frontier forests. In some countries, deforestation rate is very high, and this is as a result of human activities which are carried out to the detriment of forests. According to FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment (2005), deforestation is a result of the combination and interaction of complex factors on a given forest. The threshold main causes of deforestation remains: (1) Agriculture - conversion of forests into crops and pastures, which is driven by need for the basic human need for food. Hence, farmers must raise crops for food and to sell. (2) Infrastructural expansion. This includes roads development and encroachment of human settlements. (3) Wood extraction, accompanied by forest fires which are often purposeful set by people. Other drivers of deforestation are population growth, poverty, landlessness and consumer demand.

Deforestation, degradation and poor forest management reduce carbon storage in forests. From the records, there are billion tons of carbon stored in the forest biomass more than it is in the atmosphere. But this carbon stocks in forest biomass decrease drastically because of continued deforestation and forest degradation. Without forests, carbon oxidizes to carbon dioxide which is a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, with a net effect of global warming, which is the cause of intense hotness of the weather, and other harmful effects of the whether conditions to the human settlements. It is true that other sources of fossil fuel releases carbon dioxide, but it is evident that the loss of natural forests around the world contributes more to global emissions. Thus, curbing deforestation is a highly cost-effective way to reduce emissions, and sustainable management, planting and rehabilitation of forests can increase carbon sequestration.

The world's reservoirs of ecosystem and biodiversity hotspot are the tropical forests. This is accrued to the fact that they occupy millions of hectares and represent resources in form of economic products and environmental services. Fortunately and unfortunately, most of the tropical forests are in the developing countries, and it's deforestation has not only lead to destruction of beautiful areas, but also to the diminishing of tropical rain forests with major effect on global climate change and the loss of many plants and animals from the face of earth.

According to Bryant et al. Forests are housing to the world's indigenous cultures. Over 50 million indigenous people live in the tropical forests. Amazon forests houses at least 400 indigenous groups, comprising of approximately 1 million people in all (Bryant et al. 1997). It is worthy of note that indigenous people have a banknote knowledge and information about the nature. Thus, transforming forests to wipe out indigenous people is a moral crime (Bryant et al. 1997). Frontier forests are guardian to indigenous diverse cultures of people with deep affiliations to ecological processes and habitat. This of course is one of the gifts of nature earth, that can be transfered down to other generations.

The trees also help control the level of water in the atmosphere by helping to regulate the water cycle. With fewer trees left, due to deforestation, there is less water in the air to be returned to the soil. In turn, this causes dryer soil and the inability to grow crops which amounts to great negativity to the agricultural sector, that contributes immensely to human sustainance.

The cost associated with destruction of forest is enormous, and to avoid such, it is paramount to preserve the forest through proper forest management and maintenance. This brings about the need to encourage afforestation, not only as a means of accommodating other natural bodies but in consideration to man's dare need of it for his survival. This is so because when man thinks he is exercising superiority over other parts of nature through deforestation, he is actually endangering his own life and cutting his span short.

To this effect, Madagascar on the 19th of January 2020 embarked on its most ambitious tree-planting drive yet, aiming to plant 60million trees in coming months. This is the fulfillment of President Andry Rajoelina's promise to restore Madagascar's lost forest. This of course is a positive move towards the restoration and maintenance of forests which is worthy of emulation. As a matter of urgency, the quest for the restoration of forest and its sustenance should be man's utmost concern as much as life itself is to man.

4.0    Conclusion

A conscious and sustainable reconnection with Nature should be the top most priority of man in his existence on this earth planet. This requires a healthy and cordial relationship between him and nature based on its importance and unavoidable need. As man is part of nature, he cannot do without the providence of nature. Obviously, everything man does has its origin rooted in nature one way or another.

Developing alternatives to deforestation can help decrease the need for tree clearing. For example, the desire to expand the amount of land used for agriculture is an attractive reason to deforest an area. But if people adopted sustainable farming practices or employed new farming technologies and crops, the need for more land might be diminished.

Forests can also be restored, through replanting trees in cleared areas or simply allowing the forest ecosystem to regenerate over time. The goal of restoration is to return the forest to its original state, before it was cleared. The sooner a cleared area is reforested, the quicker the ecosystem can start to repair itself. Afterward, wildlife will return, water systems will reestablish, carbon will be sequestered and soils will be replenished.

Everyone can do their part to curb deforestation. We can buy certified wood products, go paperless whenever possible, limit our consumption of products that use palm oil and plant a tree when possible.



                                                        The Author: Alutu Nicholas Chinaemelum


For assistance and inquiries on your essays, project and research, send us an email on scholarsorgng@gmail.com You can also like our facebook page using the link: https://web.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100071046720875 . You can also find us using the name ‘Scholars International’. 

Also Read: Using Positive Reinforcement to motivate the Behaviour of Students By Euphemia Okwuba (B.Ed) 

George James’ Stolen Legacy: A Key to a Proper Understanding of African Ingenuity by Ezeilo Francis Chukwuebuka 

Party Identification and the 2015 Guberatorial Election in Kaduna State by Okorie Victor

 JAMB/UTME Controversy 2021

For Jobs and recruitment updates read: Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) recruitment 2021

For admission and Scholarships read: Unijos Remedial Resumption for 2021/2022: Registration Deadline 

Scholarships totaling N1.6 billion are being offered by American universities to 30 talented Nigerians 

Also keep visiting our website www.scholars.org.ng for more updates on Job recruitment, schools admission and Scholarships.


No comments

Powered by Blogger.