The forests in Indonesia used to be around 170 million hectares. It’s a huge number but the loss is even greater. Although Indonesia’s forests has ranked as the one of the most diverse in the world, they are also the ones that experience the most destruction.
Deforestation in the form of illegal logging, burning down trees or purposeful elimination for plantations continue to happen. Now, around 74 million hectares have been lost due to all the deforestation.
These 25 Environmental Impacts of Deforestation in Indonesia will tell you how much harm it has caused to the Indonesia’s ecosystems. See how damaging it is to destroy forests on the country’s environment.
1. Stronger Winds
In the past year, Indonesia has experienced several sudden bursts of strong winds in different regions. The occurrence used to be uncommon.
Deforestation is a contributing factor to this phenomenon. Cutting down trees means that winds will find it easier to gain strength. Trees are used to break their power. Now that there are less trees, Indonesia can expect stronger ones in the future.
2. High Level of Carbon Dioxide
Trees are important in maintaining an appropriate level of carbon dioxide in the air. After all, they are able to absorb most of the harmful gases.
Deforestation have caused the level to spike up due to the lowered number of trees. Other than that, when trees are cut down, they also add more carbon dioxide. All the gases stored inside are released into the air.
3. Disrupted Water Cycle
The water cycle cannot function properly without trees. When the rain falls, the trees are present to absorb most of the water. Later on, they will release them in the form of water vapor. The water vapor will be turned into clouds which will carry on the process of rainfall all over again.
4. Destroyed Habitat
Wild animals rely on forest to be their shelter. With the rapid and continuous deforestation, they are losing their only habitat. The absence of homes will mean that they are more exposed to harm such as predators or death. They are also less able to produce young ones that can carry on their species’ existence.
5. Death of Species
The death of species is a serious environmental impact. It is a cruel act to destroy the wild animals’ habitat and push them to their death. Now, there are even more endangered species such as the Orangutans, Sumatran tigers and elephants. The wild animals help to maintain the ecosystem in nature. For instance, Orangutans are crucial in dispersing seeds throughout the forests so that they can stay lush.
6. Soil Erosion
Tree roots help to make the soils underneath them to stay in their place. It’s harder for the soils to get washed away by flowing water. But due to illegal logging, soil erosion is becoming more frequent. That means that there are lots of soil leaving the land. It makes the place to become difficult for vegetations to grow.
7. Poor Water Quality
Poor water quality is unavoidable when a huge percentage of trees are cut down every year. Since there are no more trees to hold the soil, it eventually gets carried away to nearby water sources. Streams, lakes and rivers will be filled with more soil that reduces makes the water more murky and dirty.
Read more: Effects of Water Pollution in Indonesia
Flood is probably one of the most frequent natural disasters in Indonesia. Almost every month, there is an area that is affected by flooding. What causes this disaster to worsen is deforestation. Lowlands are more vulnerable to flooding. When a higher land experiences flood, all the water is free to flow down because there are no trees that can reduce their impact.
Landslide also a regular natural disaster in the country. Many lives are always lost when it happens. It’s becoming easier for soils to disperse because there are no vegetations to hold them back. Deforestation causes extreme soil erosion that leads to the landslides.
Also read: Kinds of Disaster are Common in Indonesia
10. Forest Fire
Forest fire, especially the man made one, is a common method to destroy a large amount of trees in an area. However, when they are gone, more natural forest fires can start. As there are more dry lands to get heat up, fires can easily start. More trees left in the surrounding area will also catch the fire.
Read more: Wildfire in Indonesia
11. Infertile Soil
Another environmental impact from deforestation would be infertile soil. Exposed land will be hit by dry air and hot sun rays. All the nutritious minerals in the soil will be gone leaving it infertile. It will be difficult for any plants to grow in the soil. It takes a long time for the soil to be fertile again, if possible.
12. Prolongs Drought Period
Indonesia will have drier air if deforestation continues. It will cause droughts in certain areas. There are less trees to absorb most of the sunlight and the hot gases. Water cycle is also disrupted so rainfall becomes rarer. Recovery from the droughts will not be easy and very slow.
13. Lowers Air Quality
The quality of the air in Indonesia will suffer without trees. There is less source of oxygen. Instead, there is a high level of carbon dioxide hanging in the air. The environment will be filled with unhealthy air that harm every animals, humans and plants in the country.
14. Reduced Food Sources for Animals
Wild animals inside the forests will find it hard to find food. There are no fruits or plants for them to consume. The water that they drink is dirty and the source will continue to deplete. When the wild animals can’t find their food in the forests, they’ll eventually come into the humans’ habitats.
15. Global Warming
Deforestation in Indonesia will also speed up the rate of global warming. All the harmful gases will create an intense impact on the greenhouse effect. Global warming will not only be felt in Indonesia, but all over the world. Indonesia is experiencing global warming caused by deforestation in the form of increasing natural disasters and extreme weather conditions.
Also read: Kinds of Weather in Indonesia
16. Pollutes Neighbouring Atmosphere
When there’s a forest fire in Indonesia, neighbouring countries will also receive the harmful smoke. Singapore and Malaysia are the two countries that often experience it. Other than their geographical locations, the reason why the smokes often become so bad is because of the poor environment in Indonesia. There are no vegetations that can reduce the impact.
17. Increases Dry Lands
The soils in the forests are usually moist. This moisture helps to keep the soil to keep their healthy nutrients. Trees and other kinds of vegetations can grow. However, deforestation will reduce this moisture. No more tall trees and leaves that can ward off the sun from heating up the soil. The lands in the forests will become dry and unhealthy.
Other Extreme Impacts of Deforestation (18-25)
There are even more serious impacts from the elimination of trees in Indonesia which are listed down below.
- Extreme Temperature Changes: As Indonesia is a tropical country, it might even be hotter in the next few years due to lack of trees.
- Losing Unknown Species: There are still unknown species in the wild that have not been discovered and now there is even less ground for conducting research.
- Powerful Storms: Thunder storms and rain storms will be more frequent in the future for Indonesia.
- Harms Food Chain: Unstable food chain means less survival rate for wildlife.
- Acidification of Oceans: The oceans in Indonesia will become acidic and harm the marine creatures in it.
- Extinction: Plants and animals will permanently cease to exist as their population is decreasing.
- Worsens Man Made Pollution: No trees to absorb pollutants from vehicles or factories.
- Climate Change: Changes the pattern of the weather in Indonesia.
Despite all the laws and policies, deforestation does not seem stoppable. But that does not mean ceasing it would be impossible. Efforts to decrease deforestation must continue to go on to protect the Earth.