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Trees are the most common source of fuels in developing countries like Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda etc. Fuels from trees are mainly used for domestic purposes. People cut down trees for firewood and for burning charcoal that is mainly supplied to urban areas to be used as fuel.

Because of the rapidly growing human population, the demand for trees as a source of fuel has ever increased to the extent that this resource is no longer sustainable. The act of cutting down trees for firewood, charcoal, timber, and for obtaining logs that are shipped to overseas has made this resource to be depleted. This leads to environmental destruction, a result that causes many problems to the human society and other organisms as well.

Trees have several advantages apart from providing us with fuels. Trees help in the attraction of rainfall and conservation of water sources in various areas. Trees also help in removing bad gases from air such as carbon dioxide that is emitted to the atmosphere due to various human activities. In so doing, trees help to maintain the balance of gases in the atmosphere.
Trees and other vegetation provide habitats and shelters for wild animals and birds of the air.

Presence of trees also help to maintain the survival of microorganisms found in the soil, which are important for the balance of nature. Trees can make our country look beautiful and hence attract local and foreign eco-tourists, a fact which can contribute to our country’s revenue, and economic growth.

Deforestation results to scarcity of rainfall as we are experiencing these years. This is because trees attract rainfall. Scarce rainfall leads to drought. Prolonged drought causes famine. Therefore, people will suffer from famine if they continue to use firewood or charcoal as their sources of fuels.

The other effect is soil erosion, which leads to loss of soil fertility. Trees act as a soil cover, which makes the soil resist the impact of raindrops. Deforestation means removal of the soil cover and hence making the soil bare. It is obvious that tree cutting for firewood or charcoal will expose the soil to agents of soil erosion such as wind, water and animals. This will make the soil more prone to erosion. So long as plants depend on the top soil (which contains more plant nutrients) for survival and existence, an eroded soil will consequently support very few or no vegetation at all. The aftermath of this is soil aridity.

As noted early, trees help absorb excess carbon dioxide produced by respiring living organisms. Cutting down trees will lead to excessive accumulation of carbon dioxide in air. Carbon dioxide, among other gases, is responsible for excessive heating of the earth, a phenomenon called global warming. This is because the gas forms a layer in the atmosphere that acts as a blanket.

The layer of carbon dioxide gas so formed prevents heat emitted by the heated earth from escaping to the upper atmosphere. This causes extreme heating of the earth’s surface. y lead to extinction of plant and animal species.

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