Comparison Among Afforestation, Reforestation, and Deforestation

Forest is our most significant natural resource, which serves as a living place for several terrestrial organisms. Also, many people solely depended on the forest for their living.


Not only them, but we all are also dependent on the forest for our day to day necessities. From food to medicine, the forest is the only source that helps us to live comfortably and further to fight against various infections.

Moreover, we all evolved from our forests and also learned so many things from them. According to research, forests are a critical necessity if we want to save our earth from damage. This is because it manages the carbon cycle in the atmosphere by absorbing it for photosynthesis.

So, it is obvious why we should discuss afforestation, deforestation, and reforestation. Besides, the preservation of forests is essential for balancing our ecosystem, restoring ecological factors including soil, water, and controlling pollution and climate change like issues.

Therefore, this article will give you an idea of the difference between afforestation, reforestation, and deforestation. So, let’s begin.

What Do You Mean by Afforestation?

Afforestation is the establishment of a new forest on an infertile or degraded land where there is no forestation occurs.

Forestation refers to the stand of trees on regions having a lack of it or had previously but destroyed due to human use. Forestation gives rise to both afforestation and reforestation.

We can also describe afforestation as the restructuring of the forest employing natural or artificial methods, including plantation and seedling process.

Moreover, afforestation and reforestation are similar in various aspects; however, there is still some basic difference between them.

However, several benefits of afforestation include the following:

  1. It protects our natural forests and helps us to sustain forest resources for our future generations.
  2. It also helps in fulfilling our demand for wood-related products. Further, afforestation helps in controlling our carbon footprint to manage environmental sustainability.
  3. Moreover, several afforestation projects are done for ensuring balance and survival of the living organisms on earth.

What is Reforestation?

Reforestation is a type of forestation where the main aim is to plant more and more trees in an area that was once a forest. 

The major difference is the land where the tree plantation occurs, yet the main idea of both is to grow trees densely as much as possible.

Similar to afforestation, there are several beneficial impacts of reforestation on our environment. Still, creating a new forest is not a quick-fix process. And it may not generate the same ecosystem as it was naturally before. 

Due to deforestation, several species get extinct, and our food web and food chain become unstable. Those impacts on our biotic component of the ecosystem will never be restored, but we can resolve the issue to a few extents.

If we discuss the importance of reforestation, we will come to know that it can help our atmosphere from increased temperature and pressure due to several anthropogenic causes.

We can choose a diverse group of plants for the reestablishment of a natural forest. Further, the trees having fewer water requirements can thrive in a desert area easily. Some examples of such plants include cactus, wildflower, shrubbery, Joshua, and elephant trees.


What is Deforestation?

Deforestation can be defined as clearing or removing several trees from an area for several human needs.

Further, several forest lands get converted into farms, industries, roads, or other civilization structures. 

Some of the primary causes of deforestation include urbanization, where trees are necessary to construct buildings and factories, as fuels, or even for agricultural purposes, and much more.

While afforestation has a good impact on our society, deforestation leads to all kinds of negative consequences. A land where deforestation takes place is reestablished and termed as reforestation.

The major effects of deforestation include climate change, global warming, soil erosion, greenhouse gas emissions, fluctuation in the ecosystem, and several natural disasters like floods and droughts.

Difference Between Afforestation and Reforestation

Now, if we will compare, afforestation and reforestation then the differences we get:

Afforestation Reforestation
Afforestation is the construction of a completely new forest in unused land, having no forest former. Reforestation is the reestablishment of a forest by planting trees in existing forest land.
Afforestation is meant for growing trees in new areas. Reforestation is done in an area where a forest was destroyed.
Here, only one sapling is needed to plant for a single tree. Here, two saplings are planted to eliminate each chopped down tree.
It is done to increase forest areas and to eliminate the effects of deforestation. It is done to eradicate the negative impacts of Jhum cultivation.
Afforestation may lead to the destruction of the grassland ecosystem. Reforestation needs more labor and, thus, is found to be costly.

Differentiate Between Afforestation and Deforestation:

Afforestation and reforestation seem similar and have very few differences. However, deforestation and afforestation are distinct from each other in several aspects. Let’s have a look, what they are:

Afforestation Deforestation
Afforestation is the plantation of new trees in degraded or infertile land. It refers to the destruction of forests for globalization, industrialization, and urbanization.
It has several advantages for our environment. Deforestation has various demerits in our environment.
Afforestation helps in replacing the excess greenhouse gases in the environment and thus protect us from global warming. Deforestation leads to increased atmospheric temperature and becomes a cause of global warming.
It helps in sustaining wildlife and forest ecosystems. It destroys the forest ecosystem.
We should practice afforestation in order to increase pure oxygen concentration, to decrease the global temperature, and also to save our flora and fauna from extinction. We should stop deforestation or must begin with reforestation in order to cancel its negative effects.

Difference Between Reforestation and Deforestation: 

Differences between reforestation and deforestation are similar to those of the afforestation and deforestation difference. This is due to the similarities of reforestation and afforestation, and these two have a good impact on our atmosphere to cancel the negative effects of deforestation.


Deforestation has several environmental effects which not only destroy our ecosystem but are the reason for more severe atmospheric conditions. However, the increasing population demands more trees to be cut for constructing numerous structures.

Moreover, the forest is the most crucial resource that must be saved. It provides us with oxygen to breathe, food to eat, medicines to prevent health hazards, ornamental things, raw materials for furniture, and fuels for several purposes. By deforestation, not only do the local communities face difficulties in living, but we also face problems regarding climate change.

Therefore, deforestation should be minimized by creating new forests through afforestation or by reconstructing them through reforestation so that we can move a step forward towards our sustainable development goals.

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