Global action is urgently needed to address climate change. It endangers biodiversity, damages ecosystems, and makes extreme weather more common. It endangers world health, wealth, and food security as well. Deforestation exacerbates the effects of climate change.

The purposeful removal of trees and other forest plants is known as deforestation. Agriculture, mining, and urbanization are the primary goals of this endeavor. Rapid and undeniable evidence connects deforestation to global warming. And global warming is part of climate change.

In this article, we will clearly discuss the impact of deforestation on climate change. We will also look at where deforestation happens most and the solutions to it. Keep reading to understand this action.

Why Forests Matter

Forests are very important for the health of our planet. They are home to a lot of different kinds of life on Earth, from fungi and insects to tigers and elephants.

When it comes to precipitation, soil and water quality, and flood prevention, forests play a significant role. Besides, forests are essential to the survival of millions of people.

But cutting down trees has far-reaching effects. Trees take in carbon dioxide (CO2) and store it in their biomass. Forests give off CO2 and other greenhouse gases when they are cut down or even just moved around.

About 10% of global warming is due to the loss and damage of forests. So, it’s obvious that we simply cannot fight the climate crisis unless we stop deforestation.

Now more than ever, we need to keep forests safe.

Where and Why Deforestation is Happening

The Congo Basin in Central Africa, the Amazon Basin in South America, and Southeast Asia are the places on Earth with the most tropical forests. The amount of cutting down trees and the reasons for it are very different in these three areas.

Forests are cut down to make room for many different types of farming and other human activities. But beef, soybeans, palm oil, and wood products are the four goods that cause most of the tropical forests to be cut down today.

Amazonia has the most tropical forest area and the fastest rate of tree loss. One main reason is cutting down forests to make room for commodity crops like

  • Pasture for cattle
  • Cropland for soybeans

There is also deforestation in Southeast Asia caused by making goods for the global market. However, palm oil plantations for vegetable oil are the main cause. Something unique about Southeast Asia is the prevalence of peat soil, which, when dried out, releases a lot of CO2.

In the Congo Basin, on the other hand, where there is less deforestation, traditional shifting cultivation is more common. So the forest can grow back and take in some of the CO2 that was released.

tree planting and climate change

The Scale and Impact of Deforestation on Climate Change

When trees are cut down, a lot of the carbon they store is released back into the air as carbon dioxide. This makes climate change worse.

The humid tropics experienced the greatest amounts of deforestation in the previous ten years. This happened primarily in Africa and South America. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), about 420 million hectares of forest were lost between 1990 and 2020. This is the net loss, which includes planting new trees and forests growing naturally.

Even though it has slowed down since then, 10 million hectares of forest were cut down every year from 2015 to 2020.

The world’s need for agricultural goods is the main cause of deforestation. Agribusinesses clear forests in order to plant high-value cash crops like soy and palm oil and raise cattle on the land.

Besides, 12–20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from changes in land use, mostly cutting down trees. Forest degradation (changes that harm a forest’s structure or function but do not reduce its area) and the destruction of tropical peatlands contribute to these emissions. Although some tropical forests used to “sink” carbon, they now release more carbon into the air than they take in. For instance, scientists now think that the southeast part of the Amazon Rainforest is a net carbon source.

How Deforestation Contributes to Greenhouse Gas Emissions

We have already discussed deforestation’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. However, there is more to that.

Different areas have different effects on greenhouse gas emissions when trees are cut down. A lot of emissions come from tropical forests because they have more biomass per hectare than other types of forests. For example, about 15% of the world’s emissions related to deforestation come from the Amazon rainforest.

The removal of trees alters the carbon cycle. That’s because they serve as carbon sinks and reduce photosynthesis in the region. As a result, emissions of greenhouse gases increase.

Deforestation affects greenhouse gas emissions in a roundabout way. It is also a known contributor to air pollution because the area is turned into pasture or farmland.

Additionally, fertilizer production and use account for a significant portion of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. Fertilizers release nitrous oxide. Plus, there is a lot of methane gas released when cattle are raised for food. Methane is a stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

It is not just in one place that cutting down trees affects greenhouse gas emissions. Consumers add to pollution by making, transporting, and using goods that often come from areas that have been cut down for trees. This is how deforestation and the emissions that come with it are a worldwide issue with broad effects.

The Relationship Between Deforestation and Soil Degradation

Deforestation significantly harms soil, impacting ecosystems and local communities. It causes soil quality to drop due to human actions like cutting down forests, farming, and mining. Deforestation harms soil in many ways.

  • First, cutting trees increases soil erosion. Soil erosion happens when wind or rain washes soil away. Trees keep soil in place with their roots. Without trees, soil gets eroded easily. That gets rid of the topsoil that plants need to grow because it is full of nutrients.
  • Second, deforestation causes soil compaction. This makes soil dense and not porous. Using heavy machinery for clearing land or letting livestock graze on cleared land compacts the soil. Compacted soil absorbs less water and nutrients, harming plant growth and crop production.
  • Third, deforestation leads to soil nutrient loss. Trees cycle nutrients in ecosystems, and removing them means losing these nutrients. Also, turning these areas into farmland or grazing land further lowers soil nutrients. As a result, soil productivity drops, crop yields suffer, and chemical fertilizers become more needed.
  • Last but not least, deforestation changes the acidity or alkalinity of the soil, which is determined by its pH. Trees help maintain soil pH by taking in and releasing minerals. Clearing land of trees can alter the soil’s pH, which in turn affects plant growth and agricultural yields.

potential solutions to deforestation

Benefits of Reduced Deforestation and Natural Reforestation

Stopping deforestation will not stop climate change by itself. We need to take urgent action to lower the other 90% of emissions as well. It is also important to protect tropical forests and plant new ones where old ones have been cut down.

About 28% of tropical forest land is made up of young secondary forests. These are forests that are growing back after being cut down. They are a significant additional “natural climate solution.” That’s because their potential sequestration is roughly 40% greater than what stopping deforestation would accomplish.

There are advantages to reforesting and halting deforestation beyond just mitigating pollution from climate change. If we do not take action to preserve tropical forests, many endangered plant and animal species may perish.

Tropical forests also help mitigate the effects of droughts and floods. Preserving trees helps the environment, protects species, and encourages growth in the long run.

The Potential Solutions to Deforestation

Deforestation is a big issue. It needs a well-rounded approach to fix it. Luckily, we have several strategies to tackle it and encourage the use of land in a way that keeps it healthy.

  • Reforestation is one way to make a difference. It involves planting trees again in places where forests have been cut down. It might fix up areas that have been damaged, bring in different kinds of wildlife, and even get rid of CO2 from the air. It also allows us to restore vital ecosystem functions like water purification and soil stabilization. Locals can also get work from selling lumber and other forest products.
  • Another approach is to practice sustainable forest management. Ecological sustainability, human well-being, and economic progress are all factors that this strategy seeks to address. It preserves natural services, helps forests maintain their biodiversity, and keeps locals employed. Some methods for this include:
    • Selective logging, which does not cut down young trees
    • Forest certification, which makes sure that forests stay healthy
  • Forests won’t be under as much pressure if people buy less soybeans and palm oil. Local job alternatives like ecotourism and sustainable farming can bring in cash without harming forests.
  • Government policies can also make a difference. Their zoning laws, forest protection, and green forestry rewards can promote environmentally friendly land use.


Deforestation negatively affects climate change. It boosts the emissions of greenhouse gases like CO2. The consequence of such emissions is rising global warming. Besides, deforestation also causes significant damage to the soil. The species that use trees as their shelter lose their habitats as well.

Reducing deforestation brings significant benefits to the entire planet. As trees sequester carbon, having more trees around brings the carbon cycle under control. However, more efforts are required to tackle this drastic climate change. One of the most effective things to do is reforestation.

From a personal point of view, individuals and businesses can turn to tree plantation programs. This can help to increase the number of trees worldwide. With the help of tree professionals like Dynasty Tree Experts, such efforts can be more functional. We will make planting trees a joy for you. Contact us today and start your fight against climate change.