There are implications for human wellbeing from the degradation of the water and carbon cycles

Forest Loss
– Over 1.6 billion people depend on forests and over 90% of these are the poorest in societies.
– Forests, like other ecosystems are essential for human well being, through the ‘services’ they provide.
– They are also home to 80% of the world’s biodiversity.
– Palm oil is the most commonly produced vegetable oil – used in foods such as frozen pizzas and biscuits, in cosmetics and as a biofuel. 66 million tonnes are produced annually.
– Tropical conditions are ideal for the growth of oil palms and consequently, vast areas of rainforest in SE Asia, Latin America and Africa have been cleared to create land for these plantations.
– Deforestation has affected around 13 million hectares per year.
– In the process of clearance, vast amounts of carbon are released into the atmosphere
– In 2015, Indonesia’s carbon emissions overtook those of the USA briefly, as a result of forest burning.
– However, net loss is being reduced by afforestation.

Forest Functions and Threats
Provision of Goods
– 1.1% of the global economy income
– 13.2 million ‘informal’ and 41 million ‘formal’ jobs
– Improved food security
– Sources of livestock in arid and semi-arid regions
– Fuel wood a source of energy for 1 in 3 people globally
– A genetic pool: improving plant strains and medicines
Regulation of Earth Systems
Deforestation Creates:
– Water-related risks (landslides, local floods and droughts)
– Increased air and water pollution
Cultural Value
– Direct reliance by many indigenous peoples
– Some cultures and religions see forests as sacred
– Leisure and tourism



Kuznets Curve Model
This model suggests the societies reach a tipping point, where exploitation changes to more protection.
Factors affecting the timing of change include – The wealth of a country. – The rising knowledge of the role the environment plays in human wellbeing. – The participation of locals. – The power and values of TNCs.
The curve shows level of environmental degradation against GDP per capita. At the start if the negative quadratic graph is the pre-industrial economic where the focus is on economic growth rather than the environment, exploit natural resources and industrialisation occurs. The middle of the curve shows industrial economies where increase from environmentalist groups starts to occur.
At the end of the curve the degradation decreases again ad rising income reduces the environmental impacts and technologies allow for efficient and less polluting methods.