Monday, June 30, 2014
Land Use Conversion
LAND USE CONVERSION
by Antonio C. Antonio
June 24, 2014
Several decades ago, these communities did not exist and all that was there is one vast forest. (Please see images.) As man inhabited this area, it became necessary for him to convert the flat/low-lying area from forest to agricultural production for two justifiable reasons: (1) Timber was necessary to build houses; and, (2) Crops, therefore food, was needed to survive.
The images clearly show the distinct effect of land use conversion. The residential/commercial areas (red circles) continues to expand into the agricultural (brown circle) and forest (green circle) areas because of the need to build more houses. The yellow circles are forest areas presently being converted to either agricultural or residential areas.
“Land use conversion is the most significant cause of deforestation. Agriculture and cash crops plantation establishment, considered to be a more economically viable business activity than tree plantation establishment, has been the single most common land use conversion. Vast tracts of forest lands have been converted to palm oil plantation in recent years. Conversion of forest lands to residential housing purpose has also been very common especially in countries where real property development is a lucrative business. A lot of countries have also encouraged industrialization especially traditional agriculture economies. Forest areas have been cleared to develop and establish areas dedicated for commercial and industrial use. Infrastructure development particularly the construction of roads, have also caused deforestation.” (Antonio, 2013) Additionally, allow me to mention the following research information also gathered: (Deforestation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deforestation) “According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat, the overwhelming direct cause of deforestation is agriculture. Subsistence farming is responsible for 48% of the deforestation; commercial agriculture is responsible for 32% of deforestation; logging is responsible for 14% of deforestation and fuel wood removals make up 5% of deforestation.”
“Population growth or overpopulation exerts pressure on land use. As the population grows bigger, (a) more land is dedicated to agriculture for food security purposes, (b) land is allocated to establish more housing and residential units that are needed to house and settle the additional population, (c) more business and livelihood establishment are constructed and established to provide employment for the additional population, (d) more roads and bridges will have to be constructed to provide mobility and access between growing communities, (e) more power and energy will be needed to provide and support the growing communities and industries with the necessary utilities (just to name a few.)” (Antonio, 2013)
Although the UNFCCC attributes land conversion to agriculture as the larger cause of deforestation, we should also realize the land use conversion is just the effect of an original cause which is an abnormally high population growth rate. Addressing the population growth issue will be the only significant solution to the problem of land use conversion. Otherwise, the next picture that will be taken of this place (decades from now) will no longer show any forest whatsoever.
Just my little thoughts…