Logging threatens planet

Cameron Dueck
Cameron Dueck |

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Solid wooden furniture and floors are a feature in many Hong Kong homes. This fondness for wood has contributed to the growing problem of deforestation, and this problem is particularly serious in Asia.

Malaysia and Indonesia are leading exporters of wood that has been harvested in their forests. But a lot of this logging is illegal.

Logging can cause various problems. Forests remove carbon dioxide from the air, helping to keep the planet safe. So fewer trees mean more air pollution.

Trees help prevent soil erosion. Their roots hold the soil together. They absorb much of the rain that falls, preventing the water from washing downhill and taking the soil away with it.

Trees also create homes for other plants and animals. There are thousands of frogs, birds and plants that rely on trees in the forest for food and shelter. Some animals are in danger of becoming extinct because people are cutting down trees illegally.

In Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, logging is also a threat to the people who live in the jungle. The natives rely on the forest for their livelihood, and when we cut the trees down, they lose their homes and food sources.

But logging continues to destroy forests around the globe because we need wood for our houses and furniture and to make paper. China and India are two of the biggest importers of wood. Both of these countries are developing rapidly, and as the people become richer, they spend more on decorating their homes. That means higher demand for wood.

What can we do to help protect our forests? Recycled plastic is a good alternative. Many parks in Hong Kong have shelters made out of recycled plastic. I have a bamboo floor in my home, and it's beautiful. Bamboo grows fast, and it can be grown on a farm, saving the trees in the forest.

We can also recycle wood and paper. Wood for furniture and floors can come from old ships, barns and factories.

And when we do need to use wood that has come from the forests instead of recycling, we can pay attention to where it was harvested. Ask the company that made your furniture if they use wood that has been harvested in a responsible way, and if they are doing their part by replanting the forests they cut down.

There are many natural resources that we need for our everyday life. Wood, oil and clean water are just some of them. We don't have to stop using them - we just have to become smarter about how we use them.

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