Tree Cutting,Deforestation,and Your Health

  By Ngozi Joe-Ikechebelu

The Nigerian Meteorological agency has recently warned Nigerians, especially from the Northern region to expect intense storms capable of damaging and pulling down trees. This is linked to expected from anticipated surging trade winds. Intense trees felling and cutting from rapid anthropogenic activities, in addition to removal of forests from non-natural causes, such as climate changes has increased the rate of deforestation activities in Nigeria bringing about a loss of 410,000 trees per annum between 2005 to 2012. These eco-social activities has contributed to the loss of land cover from trees and heightened health-related challenges.
As land cover (trees) that protect direct sunlight on lands are lost, there is increasing loss of water vapor impacting on the frequency of extremely hot, dry seasons, in addition to loss of the natural habitat for animals. The loss of land cover heightens the rise in temperature with its resultant effects on the population, such as heat strain, heat exhaustion, heat stroke. For the plants, there is loss of herbs for food and herbal products, while for the animals, the loss of their natural habitat brings them close to human population with its attendant effect on human population and disease outbreaks like Lassa fever and yellow fever.
The impact of deforestation is far reaching. It not only displaces the normal ecosystem, disrupts the balance in Eco diversity and impact on disease outbreak. It could also enhance the emergence of new diseases and re-emerging of the diseases in places where they were not known to occur or in intensities not previously experienced. Sadly, the human activities that lead to deforestation are amenable to local policy changes. There is therefore an urgent need to engage the individuals, communities and organizations for collective action and responsibilities towards afforestation and environmental conversation. This can be achieved through participatory action research.