It is just a matter of few decades when the world will witness the "irreversible collapse" of the human civilization, unless mankind drastically changes the course, said researchers from the Alan Turing Institute and the University of Tarapacá.
The physicists, Mauro Bologna and Gerardo Aquino have predicted that deforestation will claim the last forests on Earth between 100 and 200 years but the end of civilization would come sooner. As per their prediction, civilization has only a 10 percent chance to survive, which they described as the most "optimistic scenario."
The End of Civilization
The team of researchers believes that the end of civilization will come within decades. In the new study, which was published in Nature, the researchers wrote, "Clearly it is unrealistic to imagine that the human society would start to be affected by the deforestation only when the last tree would be cut down."
Before humans started to dominate the world, the planet was covered by 60 million square kilometers of the forest but now there are less than 40 million square kilometers of forest, revealed the study.
As trees and forests play a huge role to balance Earth's ecosystem, fewer forests will cause more deduction of oxygen from the blue planet and create an unwanted change in the food chain. "It is highly unlikely to imagine the survival of many species, including ours, on Earth without [forests]," the study added.
Based on the scientific model, the researchers came to the conclusion that due to resource consumption, a catastrophic collapse in the human population is the most likely scenario of the dynamical evolution based on current parameters.
The calculations have shown that maintaining the actual rate of population growth and resource consumption, particularly forest consumption, the humans have only a few decades left before the collapse of the civilization
The research finding added that "A rapid disastrous collapse in population occurs before eventually reaching a low population steady-state or total extinction. We call this point in time the 'no-return point' because if the deforestation rate is not changed before this time the human population will not be able to sustain itself and a disastrous collapse or even extinction will occur."
Deforestation Is Leading Towards the End
As most deforestation is happening in the tropical regions, a report by scientists from the University of Maryland revealed that the tropics lost about 61,000 square miles of forest in 2017-- an area equivalent to the size of Bangladesh.
The World Bank estimated that since the beginning of the 20th century, around 3.9 million square miles of forest have been lost. As per a 2018 report by The Guardian, every second, a chunk of forest same as the size of a soccer field is lost.
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) have claimed that there are four commodities-- responsible for tropical deforestation-- these are beef, soy, palm oil, and wood products. They have estimated that an area almost the size of Switzerland—around 14,800 square miles-- gets lost due to deforestation every year.
Experts believe that developing alternatives to deforestation can help decrease the need for tree clearing which will save the human civilization from extinction. For example, instead of expanding agricultural land by cutting trees, if people adopt sustainable farming practices or new farming technologies and crops, the need for more land would be diminished.