Traditional floor coverings require a tremendous amount of natural resources leading to deforestation of our earth. These impacts are far-reaching and devastating to our environment. Moving from my traditional posting about polished concrete, I want to delve into the egregious and disturbing effects that this process has on our world and mention that polished concrete can reduce its impact.

Deforestation

The large-scale removal of forests is a global crisis with far-reaching consequences for biodiversity and ecosystems. It disrupts intricate ecological networks, displaces countless species, and contributes to climate change. To fully grasp the magnitude of this issue, it’s crucial to understand the wide array of organisms affected by deforestation.

Mammals

Primates: Orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas, lemurs, and many other primates face habitat loss, fragmentation, and increased vulnerability to hunting due to deforestation.

Big Cats: Tigers, lions, leopards, jaguars, and cheetahs are threatened by shrinking territories, reduced prey availability, and human-wildlife conflicts.

Elephants: These majestic creatures require vast forest areas for food and migration, and deforestation restricts their movement, leading to conflicts with humans and crop damage.

Bears: Many bear species, including sun bears, sloth bears, and spectacled bears, are losing their forest homes, impacting their foraging and breeding habits.

Ungulates: Deer, antelopes, tapirs, and other hoofed mammals suffer from habitat fragmentation and increased hunting pressure due to deforestation.

Small Mammals: Countless rodents, bats, and other small mammals are displaced or lose their food sources when forests are cleared.

Birds

Parrots: Many parrot species, including macaws, cockatoos, and amazons, are threatened by habitat loss and the illegal pet trade fueled by deforestation.

Birds of Prey: Eagles, hawks, owls, and other raptors lose their nesting sites and hunting grounds as forests disappear.

Songbirds: Numerous songbird species rely on forests for breeding and migration, and deforestation disrupts their populations.

Ground-Dwelling Birds: Pheasants, grouse, and other ground-dwelling birds are particularly vulnerable to habitat loss and fragmentation.

Reptiles & Amphibians

Snakes: Many snake species, including pythons, boas, and vipers, inhabit forests and suffer from habitat destruction.

Lizards: Deforestation threatens a variety of lizards, including geckos, iguanas, and chameleons.

Turtles and Tortoises: These reptiles often rely on forests for nesting and foraging, and their populations decline with forest loss.

Frogs: Many frog species depend on forest streams and ponds for breeding, and deforestation disrupts their life cycles.

Salamanders: These amphibians are particularly sensitive to changes in forest ecosystems caused by deforestation.

Insects

Bees: These crucial pollinators are essential for many ecosystems, and deforestation reduces their foraging areas and nesting sites, impacting agricultural productivity and plant diversity.

Butterflies: Many butterfly species have specialized relationships with forest plants, and their populations decline with habitat loss.

Beetles: Thousands of beetle species contribute to nutrient recycling and decomposition in forests, and their numbers are affected by deforestation.

Ants: These social insects play important roles in soil aeration and seed dispersal, and their colonies are disrupted by forest clearing.

Plants

Trees: Deforestation directly eliminates trees, which are the foundation of forest ecosystems and provide numerous ecosystem services.

Orchids: Many orchids are epiphytes, growing on trees, and their survival depends on intact forest habitats.

Ferns: These shade-loving plants often thrive in forest understories, which are destroyed by deforestation.

Medicinal Plants: Many traditional medicines are derived from forest plants, and deforestation threatens this valuable resource.

Other Organisms

Fungi: Many fungi species form symbiotic relationships with trees, aiding in nutrient uptake, and their survival is linked to forest health.

Microorganisms: Countless bacteria and other microorganisms play essential roles in forest soils, decomposing organic matter and cycling nutrients. Deforestation disrupts these vital processes.

The Impact Extends Beyond Individual Species

Deforestation not only affects individual species but also disrupts entire ecosystems. It alters water cycles, leading to soil erosion and flooding. It reduces carbon sequestration, contributing to climate change. And it can trigger cascading effects throughout food chains, impacting predators and prey alike.

The urgency of addressing deforestation cannot be overstated. By raising awareness about its far-reaching consequences, we can inspire action to protect forests and the incredible biodiversity they harbor.

Making sustainable floor system choices can help. Choosing polished concrete over VCT, LVT, Carpet Tile and other harvested, manufactured, synthetic flooring options can absolutely move the needle in the right direction.

Footnotes:

Primates and Deforestation:

Estrada, A., Garber, P. A., Rylands, A. B., Roos, C., Fernandez-Duque, E., Di Fiore, A., … & Mittermeier, R. A. (2017). Impending extinction crisis of the world’s primates: Why primates matter. Science Advances, 3(1), e1600946.

Big Cats and Deforestation:

Ripple, W. J., Wolf, C., Newsome, T. M., Galetti, M., Alamgir, M., Crist, E., … & Laurance, W. F. (2014). Status and ecological effects of the world’s largest carnivores. Science, 343(6167), 1241484.

Elephants and Deforestation:

Blake, S., Deem, S. L., Mossimbo, E., Maisels, F., & Walsh, P. D. (2007). Forest elephants: Tree planters of the Congo. Biotropica, 39(4), 451-458.

Birds and Deforestation:

Sekercioglu, Ç. H. (2006). Increasing awareness of avian ecological function. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 21(8), 464-471.

Reptiles & Amphibians and Deforestation:

Gibbons, J. W., Scott, D. E., Ryan, T. J., Buhlmann, K. A., Tuberville, T. D., Metts, B. S., … & Winne, C. T. (2000). The global decline of reptiles, Déjà Vu amphibians. BioScience, 50(8), 653-666.

Insects and Deforestation:

Wagner, D. L., & Van Driesche, R. G. (2010). Threats posed to rare or endangered insects by invasions of nonnative species. Annual Review of Entomology, 55, 547-568.

Plants and Deforestation:

Pimm, S. L., & Raven, P. (2000). Extinction by numbers. Nature, 403(6772), 843-845.

Other Organisms and Deforestation:

Newbold, T., Hudson, L. N., Hill, S. L. L., Contu, S., Lysenko, I., Senior, R. A., … & Purvis, A. (2015). Global effects of land use on local terrestrial biodiversity. Nature, 520(7545), 45-50.

Deforestation’s Impact on Ecosystems:

Laurance, W. F. (2007). Have we overstated the tropical biodiversity crisis?. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 22(2), 65-70.

General Deforestation References:

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO): http://www.fao.org/forest-resources-assessment/en/

World Wildlife Fund (WWF): https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation