Short Essay on the Causes of Deforestation

One cause of deforestation is air pollution. Over the years air pollutants accumulate in the trees’ cells and weaken them. They are then more easily harmed by insects, disease, and drought. As the trees’ becomes weaker their needles and leaves drop too soon and their roots cease to absorb water and nutrients. Trees that are already weak from other factors are more susceptible to air pollutants than healthy ones. In many countries, deforestation by air pollution is visible. ”More than half of the trees in the British Isles, Swiss Alps, and western Germany are dead or seriously damaged.” (Tesar 60).

Another cause of deforestation is the ozone. Ozone is different from oxygen, in that it has three atoms per molecule while oxygen only has two atoms per molecule. That one extra atom is very important because plants and animals need regular oxygen to survive. Ozone is very poisonous because even in small amounts plants and animals can die. The San Bernardino Mountains have one of the most severe cases of ozone pollution. The mountains are about one-hundred miles east of Los Angeles, a city with a reputation for its ozone pollution. The winds blowing from the Pacific Ocean carry the ozone pollution to the slopes of the mountains. It was as early as the 1950’s that the ozone pollution was destroying the pine tree forests on the mountains. As the pollution became worse over time even more trees were killed. “Thousands have been killed, mostly on the western slopes, which receive higher doses of the poisonous smog than do the eastern slopes.” (Tesar 62).

Another cause of deforestation is acid rain. For rain to be called acid rain, the pH level has to be less than 5.6. The pH scale goes from 14 (alkaline) (with seven being neutral meaning it is not an acid or an alkaline) to 0 (acid). The pH scale is in multiples of ten, meaning that a 6 is ten times more acidic than a 7. Rain fall is naturally acidic with a pH of slightly less than 6, but is balanced out with natural alkaline compounds like wind-blown soil. The pH level in rain declines mostly because of the burning of coal and oil. ”Wheeling, West Virginia, has had rain measuring 1.5---almost as acidic as battery acid.”(Tesar 63). Any form of precipitation like snow or fog can be acidic not just rain. While acid rain is the popular term for the average person but acid deposition is the technical term for scientists. Acid rain removes compounds that the trees need to grow and release substances that are poisonous to the trees.