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The effect of deforestation on the water cycle

Virtual poster presentation for biology B
by

Alex Meredith

on 3 June 2013

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Transcript of The effect of deforestation on the water cycle

The Effect of Deforestation on the Water Cycle The water cycle is the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the earth. Maintaining a constant balance in the water cycle, or hydrologic cycle, is vital for the wellness of the earth and every living being on earth. When the water cycle is disrupted it can lead to global changes, such as climate change, that disrupt the state of living things. Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a non-forest use. Vast forests are cleared out so that the trees can be used or sold as fuel, or to make room for urban use or farms. So how does deforestation affect the water cycle? Trees store great quantities of water, especially in rainforests which are deforested the most. When those trees are cut down the water they store is lost. Trees and plants play a huge part in the water cycle because they are responsible for extracting groundwater from the soil and returning it the atmosphere, so when trees are cut down the water isn't released into the atmosphere and the balance of the water cycle is lost. When parts of forests are removed due to deforestation, this leads to a much drier climate and drier soil, because there are no longer plants and trees to transpire the groundwater. Mass deforestation can quickly turn lush rainforests into barren deserts. Tropical rainforests produce about 30% of our planets' fresh water, and they are quickly being destroyed by industrial companies. So what can we do minimize the impact of deforestation on the water cycle? The quickest solution is to simply stop cutting down trees, but financial realities would make that next to impossible. A more likely solution would be to make sure that forests still remain intact after deforestation. Getting companies to plant more trees in place of the ones that they cut down would help restore forests and maintain the balance of the water cycle. Another solution could be eliminating the need for charcoal, lumber, export, and paper (the main reasons for deforestation). Hemp products are far more sustainable and reliable than most tree products (such as paper) and hemp plants can yield way more materials than trees. By using hemp plants for our industrial needs we can drastically reduce the need for deforestation, and thus return the earth and the water cycle to a healthier state. Websites I used:

http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/deforestation-overview/

http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/watercycle.html

http://jrscience.wcp.muohio.edu/studentresearch/climatechange03/deforestation/watercycle.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deforestation#Environmental_problems

http://www.equalrights4all.org/bach/Ecology.html

http://truththeory.com/2013/05/17/hemp-could-free-us-from-oil-prevent-deforestation-cure-cancer-and-its-environmentally-friendly-so-why-is-it-illegal/
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