The increasing problem of the destruction of the Amazonian rainforest

Last Updated: 19 Apr 2023
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In the following essay I am going to describe the increasing problem of the destruction of the Amazonian rainforest. The forest lies in Amazonia, an area of Brazil, so called because of its proximity to the river Amazon. The Amazonian rainforest was once flourishing with growth and teeming with wildlife. However, due to the rapid rate at which the forest is being decimated, few trees will remain for the next generation to perceive. This crisis is so extreme that every day an area the size of Wales is demolished, and in only half an hour approximately half a million trees are pulverised.

Already, half the original rain forest has been destroyed. And the reason for this catastrophic abolishment of nature? Money! One of the foremost problems is the construction of huge roads proceeding though the forest and knocking down trees and vegetation in its path. These roads often consist of thousands of kilometres of very basic, primitive, bumpy tracks carved out of the sandy soil. The most prestigious road of its kind is the "Trans Amazonian Highway. " The roads are built to connect the rain forest with Brazil's major cities, of which the majority are situated on the coast.

Although the building of these roads should not contribute to the destruction of the rainforest, due to heavy machinery and the odd careless worker many trees are being damaged unnecessarily. They are cutting down far from the minimal amount of trees possible for the project. The consequence of the Amazonian rainforest being made accessible to major cities is the increasing potential of well established and prospering businesses set to make a fortune for some poor Brazilian families. As an outcome to this are frontier towns comprised from wood extracted and transported from the rainforest.

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Brazil is home to millions of impoverished citizens. The general domestic standards in homes often consist of no water or electricity and fairly severe food shortages. This poor standard of life encourages many families to move west in search of better conditions in which to work and live. The government issued each family with a plot of land to cultivate and occasionally this would include a house. The poor Brazilians began to rebuild their lives, however, before their land could be utilised it had to go through the lengthy but crucial process of removing all the trees from their plot.

To do this they used destructive tools like axes and chainsaws then after to get rid of any remnants of life they would burn it. This was a further problem as many fires got out of hand and lead to major forest fires. After a while it became known as "slash and burn" Once the land was clear the settlers started to plant and grow their crops, corn, manioc and sweet potatoes to feed their families. Because the settlers had know knowledge of agriculture many wasted time carrying procedures to no effect.

At first their crops were productive, however, because there were no trees left to shield the soil from the penetrating sun it soon dried out and the yield sunk into decline. After ten years there was nothing to harvest, so, the settlers packed up their positions and moved on to another plot to start again. After another ten years the same thing would happen and they would move to another plot. Many millions of trees were destroyed in this way. However after approximately thirty years the area the settlers had originally inhabited had re grown, so the people alternated between plots.

These people were nicknamed as "the shifting cultivators. Although this did contribute to destroying the rainforest they were not major destroyers. An additional Contribution to the destruction of the rainforest is the trading of forest land to large companies who in exchange give money to the Brazilians. These companies are not concerned for the welfare of the forests and its wildlife. Their main interest is establishing their businesses so they will become a thriving success. However before they can commence with the construction work the forest trees have to be cleared quickly and therefore the most efficient method of doing this is fire.

This process proves fatal to the environment in a wide variety of different ways. Firstly when trees are burned it causes an enormous amount of smoke and consequently lots of pollution. In addition, fire is extremely unpredictable, and depending on the direction of the wind any forest adjacent to the plot of land possessed by the company is under the risk of also being burned. This form of destruction is also far worse for the animals inhabiting the forest, because, unlike the chopping down of trees the animals have a minimal opportunity of survival... early every living organism is slaughtered.

The citizens of the forest are also endangered, many people die this way. Beef is currently in considerable demand all over the world; people just can't get enough of it. The poor people of Brazil saw this as a great opportunity to make money and consequently started purchasing large ranches in the rainforest in which to nurture and breed their cattle. However, once the cows have consumed all the grass and vegetation in one field they are transferred to another, this system goes on all the time.

In consequence to huge areas of land being trodden on for many years, the soil looses its fertility and therefore no seeds or crops can survive. This system is increasingly being used around Brazil and is by far the biggest and worst destroyer. For years, areas of the rainforest have been destroyed by fire for varying causes. Subsequently, all this pollution is adding to the already horrific situation of global warming. If the pollution of are planet continues at this rapid rate in as little as 100 years many peoples lives could be ruined.

Islands similar to Guernsey could be completely beneath the sea. The reason for this future disaster is the gasses which are being constantly radiated off industry and then interwoven in the Earths atmosphere, this consequently forms a warm blanket around the Earth which is starting to melt the ice at the poles, and as the ice melts the sea level rises and starts to flood flat land areas. An as a result of this many farming land will be destroyed and therefore food will become more scarce and prices near exorbitant for poor countries.

The situation will be so dyer that the entire country of Bangladesh will be flooded because it is 80% flat land. It is also one of the most highly populated countries in the world. This will impact our lives as well; many areas of the British Isles will become submerged by sea. No country, person or animal will escape the effects of human disregard for the environment around us. Mining is another industry destroying the Rainforest. Large areas of land are dug up by companies wanting to make money from the precious minerals.

The types of substances extracted are, tin, mananes, aluminium, iron and copper. Mining is a huge business and there are lots of additional expenses which have to be considered. For example more space is needed to provide the minors with hospitable accommodation, it is also necessary for 1000 km of railway to be dug for exporting the finished products to their required destinations. More lines are being built at an extremely fast speed. As much as 2 and a half km of the track is built a day and therefore it is not the workers priority, how they get rid of the trees and wildlife.

All this construction is at the expense of the plants and animals. Charcoal making is a large occupation for many Brazilian citizens. However, because of the pollution it sends into the atmosphere it is adding to the greenhouse affect. The process of making charcoal involves baking the wood in a small mound of earth surrounded by sticks it takes a lot of time, experience and care. Charcoal is in such demand that 4 tonnes of wood only lasts for 4 minutes in a factory. Brazil is home to the 4th largest dam in the world.

The purpose of these huge structures (built mostly in the 80's and 90's) is to generate cheap electricity. However, some people say they make more than can be used in Brazil, because the Brazilians don't use many electrical items. The dams function by a series of clever but complicated methods; all rivers start in hills, and therefore flow down the side of the mountain or hill into the sea or a lake. As the water is flowing down the hill inevitably gathers speed and it is this speed that can be converted into electricity by things called turbines.

These turbines are comprised of a large wall built across the river. A small amount of water is let through a small gap, but the rest builds up behind the wall building up force to get through the gap. It is this force which generates the electricity; because inside the turbine there is a wheel which is being turned by the force of the water this can then be transformed into electricity. Brazil makes hydro electricity. However, there are many downsides to this method of resource preserving. Firstly due to the turbine a lot of the forest has been flooded by the water which overflows.

Many animals have drowned and the smaller species which in future will prove vital in the ecosystem had no chance of survival. Even the lucky ones who were rescued appeared to be suffering. The pollution is so bad that the water has become acid and therefore unsafe. The Brazilians were promised that a certain percentage of profits would be donated to support them, however, this has not been the case. It has turned out that Brazil did not originally have the money to fund this project so they borrowed money from large companies and are still paying it back, with interest!

The people in charge of the project it appears have also overlooked some simple ways of making money and at the same time utilising the forest; they could have sold the trees they flooded and in exchange received additional funding. This was an extremely expensive project with what at the end appears to be no final product. The Brazilians can't use all the electricity being generated. The flooding of the rainforest also disadvantages the Brazilian indigenous peoples. The land protected and preserved for them is being also destroyed along with its citizens.

All the thousands of natives who inhabit the forest are being endangered because of the different people such as gold miners, forest workers and dam builder's bringing with them new viruses and diseases which they are not immune to and consequently can not fight off. Gold mining is the final thing which is decimating the forests, to extract the gold they blast the banks with powerful water hoses which erode the river sides. They also use arsenic, which is a poison to extract the gold. The water is consequently polluted and the fish inedible. The land becomes toxic and unusable forever.

In conclusion, I strongly believe that if this disrespect for one of the most beautiful natural phenomena's of the world refuses to cease, the human race will have destroyed it before we truly recognise what cures and life saving treatment it can offer us. The Amazonian Rainforest is being sabotaged so quickly that unless some drastic action is taken quickly we will never realise the full potential of the forest. There is a lot of controversy and speculation about what to do with the forest, however, I believe the forest should be preserved for one prime reason, and that is the true and rightful owner of the forest... nature.

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The increasing problem of the destruction of the Amazonian rainforest. (2017, Sep 04). Retrieved from

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