Intact forests play a major role in local and global climate regulation. When the forest cover is intact at the coast, the forests pull moist air from the sea to the land. As long as the forest cover stretches over the land this transport of water continues over the landmass. Forests act as a natural ‘biotic pump’ of water.
The reverse is also true. When the coastline is deforested, the sea draws the moist air from the land, causing it to dry out.
A secondary effect of removing forests is the massive loss of low-level clouds, which reflect the sun’s radiation out into space. This way, intact forests provide significant local and global cooling. Scientists say that the extensive deforestation degraded the world’s water cycle over the landmass by 50% – 80%.
As water is beginning to become less plentiful in many places in the world, agriculture has to resort to artificial irrigation. This is unsustainable as the world now uses ground water at 3 times its renewal rate. This will eventually impact the availability of fertile land, water and food, thereby causing massive migration.