The Devastating Impacts of Deforestation on Tree Communication

Youth Climate Action Team Inc.
2 min readApr 25, 2023

Deforestation is a significant issue in our present society. Trees are constantly cut down for numerous reasons, such as for paper, fuel, and building materials. However, recent research has identified methods of communication among trees, relating them to humans in a way never discovered before.

Trees send signals through a jumble of underground roots known as the mycorrhizal network. The mycorrhizal network is a symbiotic relationship formed with fungi that the trees effectively utilize to share nutrients with one another. Moreover, the network can also be used to facilitate communication between trees in order to ensure survival. For example, a weak sapling may send distress signals to older plants, prompting the “mother trees” to send nutrients and water. The mycorrhizal network is a significant tool that trees employ to survive. However, this practice may die out as a result of human disasters, such as deforestation.

Deforestation refers to the clearing of trees from a large area by human activity, and may serve the purpose of freeing up land, or harvesting raw materials that can be made into goods. What makes it so harmful to forests is that it can deprive trees of their communication through the mycorrhizal network, which would inhibit their ability to survive. This phenomenon is occurring at a rapid rate, decreasing the acres of forests left on the planet.

Furthermore, the removal of mother trees from the mycorrhizal network due to deforestation can negatively impact young saplings since they may not be able to successfully gather the nutrients they depend on for survival. The loss of help from older trees can lead to a chain reaction in the destruction of other plants, including the fungi that depend on nutrients from the trees in order to continue the proper functioning of the entire network. Evidence suggests even a small disturbance to the mycorrhizal network has the potential to be devastating to the rest of the living trees.

Deforestation can also catalyze climate change as forests play the important role of absorbing “an average of 2 billion metric tons” of the world’s carbon dioxide. Without trees to perform this process, the levels of carbon emissions will continue to rise, evidently raising the Earth’s temperature at an alarming rate. Deforestation destroys one of the last hopes humans have at combating carbon emissions (that are a result of human practices as well) and slowing climate change.

Deforestation is a prominent issue that must be resolved immediately. By cutting down trees, humans are destroying the forests’ health and eventually their own well-being. The government has the power to minimize deforestation by preserving forest ecosystems and declaring national parks off limits to development. It is important to take action right now in order to minimize the overall damage brought about by deforestation.

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Youth Climate Action Team Inc.

501(c)4 youth movement bridging the gap between non-climate groups & intersectional climate action. https://linktr.ee/officialycatinc