The Neglected Risk: Worldwide Deforestation

Planet Earth sustained the loss of twelve million hectares of forest cover in 2018, and its inhabitants can expect to be poorer still in 2020, according to the World Resources Institute.  A billion people worldwide depend on forests for their livelihoods, and only about 15% of these forest ecosystems remain intact. Forests provide water, food, wood products and even medicines for the world’s population. Its biodiversity sustains many plants and animals and forests are one of earth’s most vital treasures.

Deforestation is believed to be a leading contributor to global warming.  Our primeval forests have been hardest hit, losing an area the size of Belgium.   Old primeval forests exchange more carbon dioxide than newer forests.  Absorbing the carbon dioxide we exhale is only part of the picture, these forests also assist in the reduction of greenhouse gases.  In 2018, Brazil alone lost 1.3 million hectares of trees in 2018, partly due to fire, but also to illegal logging. The health of the planet is at stake, and small improvements in this decline are no longer enough.  

The United Nations Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services reported that due to human impact, a million plant and animal species will die out in the coming decades unless intervention is immediate.  Deforestation is a major factor, and these scientists stated that this loss of forest cover could lead to the mass extinction of plant, animal and insect species– an extinction just a great as the loss of the dinosaurs.

Half of all deforestation worldwide is attributable to farming, the grazing of livestock, mining and drilling.  Forestry practices, urbanization and wildfires account for the rest of the decline. In areas where palm oil is produced, such as Malaysia and Indonesia, forests are cut down to make way for this commodity, which is used extensively in food and cosmetics.  Logging provides wood and paper products, but destroys forest systems when done illegally or without regard to forest renewal.

Efforts are ongoing to control deforestation worldwide.  The Forest Stewardship Council promotes proper stewardship by certifying products that come from managed forests that meet certain criteria. Certified products help consumers choose goods that are not contributing to environmental decline. Sustainable Forestry is the method of harvesting trees with as little damage to the environment as possible.  Replanting trees after logging, limiting soil erosion to mitigate damage to the habitat and maintaining water quality is the goal. Since removing trees for agriculture also produces soil erosion, better methods of agriculture are being introduced to farmers. Maintaining soil quality will reduce the need to cut down trees and clear new fields. Efforts are being made to reimburse nations who conserve their forests, thereby assisting the world in reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and reducing global warming.

Communities can develop local economies and provide for the common good by reforesting their local area.  Planting trees can increase economic and agricultural production, and provide timber and food products that come from the land.  Because reforesting prevents soil erosion, it can stabilize coastlines and increase the fertility of the soil. Trees can thwart damage from flooding and conserve water during droughts.  Trees planted in park lands and deserted zones, regulate the temperature in the community, and improve the quality of breathable air.

In Sri Lanka, forests have been removed to make way for agriculture and timber, just as in the rest of the world.  Not only had this affected the environment, in Sri Lanka it has contributed to flooding, landslides, and soil erosion.  To combat this impact, the government has established national parks and sanctuaries. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve was established in 1978 to protect its tropical lowland rain forest.

The Thuru Foundation is a volunteer organization that hopes to increase reforestation efforts in Sri Lanka by planting two million trees by the year 2020.  According to Thuru (which means “trees” in Sri Lankan), the country is no longer as green and covered with trees as it once was. For the past 30 years, Sri Lanka has been reduced from 37% forest cover to 28% in 2016.  Forest cover below 25% will have disastrous consequences for biodiversity in Sri Lanka. Avaera is happy to participate in the tree mission of Thuru.

Avaera means love and compassion.  Because Mother Earth gives us delicious coconuts, with which we make B2B coconut water, we are committed to replant a coconut trees in partnership with our customers.  B2B Coconut Water by Avaera, has a uniquely developed combination of flavors, and is produced in harmony with the local environment. For each purchase, Avaera plants a tree in Sri Lanka on your behalf.  How? We are partnered with an awesome organization called Thuru. They assist us in the organizing, planning, and planting of the trees. After purchasing Coconut Water, you may download the app.thuru, with which you can follow your planted tree to mature growth.

Here are some ways you can prevent deforestation.

  • Plant a tree with Avaera.
  • Go paperless.  Print less.
  • Buy recycled products and those packaged with recycled products.
  • Recycle, at home and at work.
  • Cut down on meat.  Farmed animals require abundant pastureland.
  • Buy organic foods.  Their farmers use the most sustainable practices.
  • Avoid palm oil in your food and consumable products.
  • Buy from companies whose products cause minimal environmental harm.


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