Over the years, the world has experienced the wanton destruction of its forest cover due to increased human encroachment into forested areas. The growing human population has forced people to clear wooded areas so as to create space for human settlement. Demand for timber for construction of house and furniture has also increased. However, this destruction of forests has led to environmental degradation and global warming. The world is now struggling with the effects of global warming such as floods, increased temperatures, and unpredictable weather patterns. Florida also faces these challenges which have negatively affected its economy and ecosystem. Leaders should thus take this phenomenon seriously and come up with measures aimed at conserving the environment for future generations.
Forests form an integrated ecosystem and offer habitats to some of the world’s most diverse forms of life. They play a critical role in the carbon and water cycle that make life possible on earth. Their destruction thus creates a chain of events that have adverse effects both locally and internationally. Deforestation refers to the indiscriminate and permanent destruction of forests with the aim of making land available for other purposes such as human settlement (Gorte, 2013). Destruction of forests takes different form including forest fires, unsustainable logging, indiscriminate tree cutting for agricultural land and degradation as a result of climate change. Destruction of forests has negatively affected the peoples’ liv...
es the world over and led to the extinction of a wide range of animal and plant species. Efforts including the promotion of responsible forest management, illegalizing logging, reforming trade policies and creating protected areas have been made to combat the deforestation menace. The paper will thus look at deforestation in Florida and the impact of climate change on the state by exploring the state’s economy and local ecological features.
Florida was initially covered with large tracts of forested land, prairies, mangrove forests, and large swampy areas presently called the Everglades. Initial inhabitants of the city depended mainly on subsistence farming (McGoun, 2002). However, the boom in human population coupled with the new technology of draining swampy areas created the need to develop large acres of land for future development. Huge forest lands were thus cleared so as to create space for the construction of roads, highways, schools and hospitals. Tree cutting is especially intense in Brickell and downtown Miami so as to create room for the construction of apartment buildings. Timber obtained from the logging process is used for the construction of homes, furniture, and other wooden equipment. Deforestation has thus led to high environmental degradation and climate change both locally and globally.
Among the effects of deforestation include climate change caused by increased greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide, disruption of water cycles, increased soil erosion and the disruption of livelihoods (Burgess, & National Bureau of Economic Research, 2011). The state’s economy and local ecological features have been affected tremendously by climate change. Warm temperatures on land have increased the average air conditioning bills, and the beautiful beaches are disappearing due to the ever rising sea water levels. Mangroves form part of
the state’s ecological features, and they play a critical role in trapping and circulating different organic materials, chemical elements and nutrients as well as shelter for many animal species. Human impact has, however, had devastating effects on these forests. Among the bays that have lost large coastal wetland acreage include Tampa and Charlotte Harbor where mangroves have been replacing with urbanization. Such loss of mangrove forests has forced local authorities to enforce laws aimed at protecting the state’s mangrove forests.
The warm temperatures and changes in seasonal rainfall patterns will also have a tremendous impact on plant and animal species distribution within the state, their life cycles, and interactions. Climate change will negatively affect terrestrial species and ecosystems as different species will have to either adapt, seek new habitats or face extinction in the long run as many of the protected areas may no longer be suitable habitats for many wild animals. Increased amounts of dissolved carbon dioxide will lead to acidification of water bodies hence causing coral bleaching and loss of coral habitats for associated species. Marine food chains will also face interruptions thus resulting in the extinction of some marine plant and animal species. Freshwater species and ecosystems will also suffer similar effects as a direct consequence of global
Warming. The Florida panther faces extinction due to increased human encroachment into its natural habitats making it difficult for them to hunt for food. This invasion has led to changes in their migration routes and reduced their hunting and breeding grounds.
The melting of glaciers has led to the high tides and full spread destruction from storms (Carey, 2010). Such storms will have profound effects on the state including an increase in the number of surge floods affecting the coastal regions, increased erosion and greater fluctuations in water levels. In the coming years, the state will experience extreme weather conditions characterized by other dry and rainy seasons. Such heavy rainfall will heavily affect the state’s coastline thus interrupting the livelihoods of close to 20 million people. This disruption will affect two-thirds of the state’s economy as coastal developments such as roads, apartment buildings and bridges face inevitable destruction. The rate of erosion of the state beaches is also very high.
The shoreline will move inland due to the unprecedented rise in ocean levels. Such rise in sea levels will affect different facilities that include the county sewage-treatment plant in Virginia Key and the nuclear power plant located at Turkey point. Florida’s flat coastline makes it more vulnerable to flooding. Economists’ estimate that the total value of the property at risk due to these floods ranges between $5 and $15 billion as higher seas will lead to more destruction from storms (Brosnan, 2010). The storm-related losses could increase by $2 billion a year in the next two decades. The rising temperature will have a harmful effect on human health as close to 2000 heat-related deaths are expected to occur each year within the state.
Property insurers have increased their premiums as the risks faced by properties within the coastal strip have become more profound. Insurers have thus begun rolling out climate-related insurance policies so as
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