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Deforestation In The Amazon Rainforest

In this coursework I will be investigating deforestation and stating my opinion on whether I think it should continue or not in the Amazon Rainforest In doing so I will identify the various different values and attitudes. In this assignment I will include maps as well as diagrams, graphs, charts. The Earth is a constant changing system; a serious type of change that is being contributed by man, is deforestation.

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Deforestation is the clearing out of forests so that they can cultivated and used for other purposes.

Due to this particular method of cultivating land it has resulted with vast areas of the Amazon rainforest being totally destroyed far beyond repair. Because of this scientists fear that many natural medicinal plants and vegetation may be lost permanently. Deforestation In The Amazon Rainforest Deforestation robs the world of countless species, destroying crucial Biodiversity and losing species with potential uses in medicine, agriculture and industry. Biodiversity is important because it contributes to resiliency in my opinion and should take precedence.

The main worry for environmentalists such as my self is that many species are being lost as their habitats are being destroyed. In a rainforest, certain small areas are individual, specific habitats themselves. This means that if one small area of the rainforest is cleared, it could mean that a whole series of species are wiped out. The clearing of trees causes the roots anchoring the soil in the land to be destroyed, the removal of leaves and branches that intercept eight out of every ten raindrops lead to soil erosion.

These devastating effects cause the land to become inhospitable and lead to the further cutting down of trees to provide new agricultural land. Nearly 40 percent of all the tropical rainforest left in the world is in the Brazilian Amazon. Brazil, the largest country in South America, has perhaps the best opportunity remaining to save large tracks of tropical rainforest. Although Brazil has lost approximately 58 percent of its frontier forests (large tracks of relatively undisturbed old growth forest), the country still has are over 772,200 square miles of frontier forest, among the largest amount of any country worldwide.

Brazil is also home to a second, less famous rainforest, the Atlantic Rainforest. This strip of rainforest extends from the northeast coast down to the southern state of Parana. Formerly covering more than 386, 100 square miles, only 5 percent of the original Atlantic Rainforest remains. Many species that live here, including river otters, jaguars, and armadillos, are at high risk of extinction due to habitat loss caused by logging and agricultural clearing. The Amazon is one of the world’s great rainforests and its river, is longer than any river but the Nile.

The vast Amazon basin covers more than two and a half million square miles, more than any other rainforest but for how long will this be the case? The Amazon rainforest is located in South America, where its area takes up a quarter of the content. The forest is so large it spans nine countries French Guyana, Brazil, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. It has an extremely humid climate as do most rainforests due its equatorial location which means it rains frequently “The rain becomes trapped in canopy causing heat”

Warm air caring water vapor will rise Warm air that falls here will become trapped in the canopy this will raise the temperature. The Amazon rainforest has many different species of plants and animals. For plant species there are between 5,000,000 and 30,000,000 (estimated). Only a little more than 30,000 have been classified and this represents 10% of all plants around the world. As for animal species there are about 324 mammals, and there are 2,500 to 3,000 species of fresh water fishes in the Amazon River.

“Statistics in this paragraph were taken from: http://oz. plymouth. du/~lts/conservation/Ecosystems/amazon. html” Deforestation In The Amazon Rainforest The Correlation between Deforestation And Soil Erosion: Once trees are felled there are no leaves to protect the soil beneath, from heavy rainfall also there are no roots to hold the saturated soil in place. When this occurs it makes it extremely easy for soil to be washed or blown away. Then the area of land becomes useless because you can’t build on it because foundations won’t be stable enough and you can’t cultivate it “grow crops” because nutrients such as silt etc have been washed/blown away.

Nobody benefits. Soil Loss In Tones Per Hectare Per Year. : Bare Soil : Pasture : Crop Land : Rain/Forest As you can see when a area of land is bare the soil erosion is at its highest and when it’s left alone as Rain/Forest it’s at its lowest the activity of deforestation obviously affects the rain forest but soil erosion is a perfect example of a more subtle affect, it not only damages the rainforest directly but also damages cultivating potential for the area and any future plans you may have for the site e. g. building etc

Deforestation occurs in many forms most of the clearing is done for agricultural purposes grazing, planting crops, cattle ranches etc. Poor farmers place pressure on the Brazilian government and local authorities to allow them to cut down small areas of Rainforest (typically a few acres) and burn the tree trunks in a process called slash and burn. Slash and burn is the traditional method used by the American Indianans of the rainforest and they all ways replace the areas they damage. Although this method is the most sustainaiable it’s the most dangerous and one of the most abused.

Desperate farmers will request an area of land to be cultivated and purposely let the fire grow beyond control so they will be able to claim a few acres extra, due to the fact the slash and burn method is never exact and the method is so finial. “Once it’s done its done” the government feels they are powerless. Intensive or modern agriculture occurs on a far greater scale, sometimes deforesting several square miles at a time. Large cattle pastures often replace rainforest to grow beef and such like for the world market, mostly for fast the food industry. McDonald’s etc.

Commercial logging is another common form of deforestation, cutting trees for sale as timber or pulp. Logging can occur selectively-where only the economically valuable species of tree are cut, or by clearcutting, where all the trees are cut. Commercial logging uses heavy machinery, such as bulldozers, road graders, and log skidders, to remove cut trees and build roads, which is just as damaging to the rainforest overall as the chainsaws are to the individual trees. Deforestation In The Amazon Rainforest Deforestation by peasant farmers is often done to raise crops for self-subsistence, and is driven by the basic human need for food.

Most tropical countries are very poor by U. S. standards, and farming is a basic way of life for a large part of the population. In Brazil, for example, the average annual earnings per person is U. S. $5400, compared to $26,980 per person in the United State The causes of deforestation are very complex. A competitive global economy drives the need for money in economically challenged tropical countries such as Brazil. Governments sell logging concessions to raise money for other vitial projects such as hospitials and schooling, to pay international debt, or to develop a more advanced industry infer structure.

For example, Brazil had an international debt of $159 billion in 1995, on which it must make regular payments each year. The logging companies seek to exploit the rainforest and make a profit from the sales of pulp and valuable hardwoods such as mahogany. Brazil hasn’t got much to offer the world in material goods other than what resources it has in its Rainforest so their government feels that if they don’t continue to allow this clear and obvious exploitation of the rainforest they will fall behind in their payments and be unable to support their expanding population.

I would describe Brazil as a middle income developing country I would place it in the same bracket as Mexico and Malaysia Its “GNP US $ PER CAPITA” is 3020 and it has a high infant mortality rate 57. One can only assume that a government would want to change these statistics and the easiest and quickest way for the brazilin government to get there hands on the money to do this is through the rainforest. Some other effects of deforestation are less rainfall so the cleared land becomes much drier possibly even a desert. More CO2 in the air this increases the greenhouse gasses causing global warming and climate change.

Industry and power stations that have been built give off more C02 fewer trees to produce oxygen and absorb CO2. Fewer trees means less transpiration and this mean less water vapor in the air less water vapor in the air means less condensation overall. Many birds, insects, and animals rely upon the rainforest as a food source and for shelter. After deforestation they will either die or be forced to move away from there natural habitat when animals move some where else it will put a strain on other food chains and may even cause a mass extension.

When the Rainforest is cleared peoples that lived there before are forced to leave and mix with the mainstream population this has had dire effects on them because when they mix with people outside the rainforest they develop illnesses that they had no immunity from there immune systems can’t cope with western illnesses “measles, influenza” Those who are brave enough to stick out and stay are soon driven out from their homes by the construction of roads mines and reservoirs. Many people who tri to resist developers are killed by developers.

Trees absorb a tremendous amount of water if there are no trees the water will sink into the soil and change it to mud If it continues to rain many surrounding crops will be ruined because of flooding Humus Cycle In Area of Tropical Rainforest Rich Tree Growth Numerous Fallen Leaves Leaves Decay To for Humus Nutrients Added To Soil Humus Cycle In Area of Forest That’s Been Cleared Poor Quality Vegetation Fewer Trees And Leaves Less Humus Fewer Nutrients Added To Soil Less fertile Deforestation In The Amazon Rainforest

People Living In Urban Areas In Brazil % In This Graph you can see that the number of people choosing to live in urban areas is increasing dramatically this is one of the reasons the Brazilian government continues to clear vast areas of rainforest. The cleared areas can be turned into residential areas to house more and more people. Statistics for this graph were taken from the Key Geography book Cleared Natural Forest In Order To Build Roads For Mining Access In This graph you can see that Brazil has by far the highest clearance for mining access.

This is because the Brazilian government export masses of mined goods found in and around the rainforest such as gold, sliver, and iron ore. Statistics for this graph were taken fromWWW. GREENPEACE. COM Deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest Groups of people that support deforestation in the Amazon rainforest are the Logging and mining companies as well as the various governments. Multinational companies support deforestation because they are supplying for demand and a huge market, if people want mahogany furniture and rare gems/metals then they’ll go and clear entire forests in order to give it to them and make a huge profit in the process.

These companies see developing countries as an easy target they can clear huge areas of forest and pay them a fraction of what they should do the ironic thing is they no they’ll be grateful for the money because they can barley support there expanding populations. As an outsider you would see these actions as inhuman and immoral but they do help the countries where deforestation is taking place a great deal. Many of these countries have nothing to offer other that holiday destinations so the only thing they can sell sad as it may seem is there heritage and Rainforest.

When land has been cultivated through logging and mining the money will go to the government who will spend the money on its population in the form of a better education or hospitals and roads so the peoples of these countries are benefiting slightly but some people may say that its not worth it in the long term if they keep on then sooner or later there will no rainforests at all then the big companies will leave them with nothing.

Places where there is a growing population in urban areas such as Brazil find them selves allowing big companies to destroy their rainforest in order for them to afford to destroy it them selves in processing large rainforest areas into residents for people to live in. Any one would love to earn something for nothing and that’s exactly how these companies view it they get these valuable materials for next too nothing and sell them on for extortionate prices. They see them selves as aiding the developing countries and in a way they are but what they are actually doing is feeding them with one hand and killing them with the other.

There are many groups of people that do not support deforestation in the Amazon rainforest such as the natives that lived in the rainforest; they see developers not as savors and job makers but as ruthless exploiters that kill vast amounts of animals and wild life with no remorse. Other reasons both the natives and local people are so against the clearing of the rainforest are they don’t actually see any benefits in return the government often waste money on city expansion, national defense ,and economic aid which comes as a surprise since they can hardly feed them selves let alone any one else.

When forest clearing was first introduced the main reason was to help them get out of debt but people who don’t agree with deforestation will say they never been in so much debt they were better of living in small villages before at least then they could feed themselves and lived a less complicated life. The amount of land with trees on it shrinks each year. It gets harder and harder to meet local and global demands for wood and is extremely stressful and for what? Some people have proposed that the solution to tropical deforestation is to set aside vast areas as parks and reserves.

This may buy enough time to give local governments a chance to address the underlying causes of deforestation-poverty, growing populations, and misguided policies. And many people feel that setting aside tropical reserves will ensure that unused areas will continue to exist. They point out that many species can’t survive in managed (human-used) forests. Local people may say that the rainforest is one of the main reasons people come to visit them without that then they will lose a lot of revenue gained through tourists.

People have not dwelt in large numbers throughout the tropical rain forests, but small groups of people live throughout the region. They constantly move around and clear small areas and plant crops. When they reach an area they want to use, they chop down trees and burn them in order to create a clear area. They then plant seeds in the ashes–but after a few years the soil nutrients become used up and it is no longer good for gardening, so they move somewhere else and start the process all over again. This process is called slash-and-burn cultivation, which can support a small population but will not work with larger ones.