It has been almost a month since the flood in Sintang Regency West Kalimantan has not subsided. The Regional Agency for Disaster Management notes that at least 124.497 people are affected by this flood, and 25.884 people need to evacuate. This disaster is one of the consequences of the climate crisis. This flood occurs mainly because of extreme weather and the decline in infiltration rate due to deforestation.
Deforestation is forest clearance or the removal of forested areas to be converted into non-forest use. Globally, we have lost approximately 4.7 million hectares of the forested area per year in 2010-2020. This number equals the total size of Libya. The rate of deforestation, however, is much higher than this. The UN FAO estimates that the rate of deforestation across the world has reached 10 million hectares per year. Land conversation into agriculture, cattle, and mining are some of the contributing factors to deforestation. Furthermore, some commodities also promote deforestation, such as beef (41%), soy and palm (10%), and wood products (5%).
The Negative Impacts of Deforestation
Forest plays a critical role in mitigating the climate crisis because it can absorb and store carbon through the process of photosynthesis. However, when the forest is cut down or burned, it emits the stored carbon into the atmosphere. Deforestation approximately emits 5.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually. It is equivalent to 10% of global greenhouse emissions from 2009 to 2016.
Moreover, the loss of forests would affect the ecosystem. Deforestation may cause biodiversity loss, land degradation, desertification, erosion, and flood. As a consequence, it would eventually affect the social and economic aspects of people’s lives.
Hot to Stop Deforestation
At COP 26, an international conference on climate change held by UNFCCC in Glasgow, more than 100 world leaders, including Indonesia, pledged to end deforestation by 2030. Other countries that cover around 85% of the world’s forests, such as Brazil, Canada, Russia, China, Congo, the US, and the UK, also signed this agreement. With this agreement, 19.2 billion of public and private funding will be allocated to restore forest degradation, solve wildfire, and protect the indigenous communities.
However, its implementation still should be monitored, because previously there has been a similar attempt to tackle deforestation. Previously, some countries have agreed to end half of the deforestation in 2020 and end deforestation completely by 2030. Yet, in reality, deforestation keep happening continuously.
Besides the structural or systemic solution, we can also contribute to addressing deforestation through individual actions. Nowadays, some environmental organizations provide a service to plant a tree. Hence, with this service, we can be involved in reforestation projects. Ahead of Indonesian Tree Planting Day on 28 November, we can use this moment to plant a tree by ourselves or through an environmental organization.
Implementing sustainable consumption and production is also essential in tackling deforestation. At COP 26, 28 countries committed to restricting the global trade of food and agricultural products linked to deforestation, such as soy, palm, and cacao. At the individual level, we can also support sustainable consumption and production by implementing a sustainable lifestyle in our daily lives, such as minimizing waste production, minimizing unnecessary consumption, and being cautious in choosing a product.