Land clearing in amazon rainforest Essay Sample
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Land clearing in amazon rainforest Essay Sample
The Amazon Rainforest is the largest tropical rainforest in the world. The majority of the rainforest is sited in Brazil with 60% of the rainforest contained there. It is also spread throughout other nations in South America such as Peru, Columbia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. (See Figure 1) Land clearing has become a major contributing factor in the destruction of Amazon Forest and the development of its land. This is predominantly due to human activities which impact the Amazon Rainforest such as logging, agriculture, cattle grazing, urbanisation, and medicine. Factors mentioned above, exceedingly impacts the environment within the Amazon Rainforest, creating issues such as poor farming land, a decline in water quality, habitats being annihilated, and altering the earth’s climate. The impacts of human interactions within the Amazon Rainforest will be further analysed to articulate on your understanding towards this issue and the strategies which are involved. Why do we need to clear land?
Agriculture such as cattle ranching is the primary cause of land clearing in Amazon Rainforest. It has been recorded that 60% of the land has been deforested for the grazing of cattle (See Figure 2). With an increasing population, our desire for meat seems to be rising. In this case, more of livestock are required to be produced in order to cater for our population’s needs. As a result, there is more land required to be cleared for livestock to feed on vegetation for them to grow and be eligible to be slaughtered. Agriculture seems to be 34% responsible for the deforestation in Amazon. It involves the subsistence agriculture and commercial agriculture. Sections of the rainforest are cleared by conducting in a ‘slash and burn’ method, however, in a larger degree; forest clearers burn hundreds to thousands of hectares after felling a tract of forest and leaving it to dry. In addition, the land becomes appropriate for cultivation as nutrients in the soil are released that happen to be trapped in the vegetation.
As a result, large single crops such as rice, citrus fruits, oil palms, coffee, coca, opium, tea, soybeans, cacao, rubber, and bananas are planted for industry purposes. The Amazon Rainforest is the primary source of soybeans as they are a main producer which contributes to clearing of the land. Farm owners have the idea that clearing more land for their crops is a good method when producing soya beans. With the increasing prices of soybeans, farmers are forced to move to the Amazon areas to work there. Logging is also a cause of land clearing in Amazon Rainforest. Logging is when trees are felled and cut down to prepare for timber. We use timber as a source of building material for homes, buildings and shelters. Within an individual’s household, timber is obligatory for house or office purposes such as furniture, paper, and tools.
Due to the rapid increase of the world’s population, demand for timber was on the rise thus more forest areas in the Amazon were being required to be cleared in order to cater for the population. Timber is also utilised for fuel as some people tend to use it as a major energy supply. They do such, by burning charcoal where wood from an area of the Amazon forest is being burned, under conditions of low oxygen supply, hence, results in the formation of charcoal, which is a fuel that produces a high temperature, when in combusted air. (See Figure 3)
Many diverse flora and fauna belong to the Amazon Rainforest as many insects, herbivores and tropical plants flourish in the rainforest. A majority of these living things produce chemical toxins and pharmacists had spent a lot of time on the study of these pollutants. These chemical toxins were revealed to be significant for the use of agriculture in contrary to artificial insecticides as they were found to be not so effective. Impacts of Land Clearing
Land clearing raises an issue and impacts the environment of the Amazon Rainforest. Initially, it plays a crucial role in the destruction of habitats which gradually leads to the extinction of species. This creates a threat to our biodiversity and leads to creating issues within food webs. If a species becomes extinct, it then erases itself from the food chain, hence, creates a problem, for the predator of that now extinct species, as there would no longer have food and may have to move on to other food sources. It also leads to the proliferating of the extinct species prey as they have fewer predators than before, therefore, have the opportunity to live longer and breed more.
Additionally, when land is cleared within the Amazon rainforest the soil tends to desiccate due to the absence of tree roots to secure the soil and with the combination of excessive sun exposure and heavy rainfall. This results in poor farming land which affects agriculture and the global aim of sustainable development.
Climate change is also one of the outcomes of land clearing. This is for the reason that when the canopy of the rainforest is eradicated it creates exposure; resulting in it radically altering precipitation pattern and distribution. The climatic change which is occurring within the largest rainforest in the world creates long-term impacts such as the release of carbon dioxide when trees are burnt down and impacts the atmosphere. The fewer trees there are the less carbon dioxide is being absorbed. The excessive amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere results in greenhouse gases being increased which affects our temperature ranges. (See Figure 4) The decline in precipitation may result in longer and more severe droughts, in addition with season changes. With the increasing temperatures that are caused, water quality and availability are also affected.
Land clearing in the Amazon rainforest negatively impacts our water and results in the quality of it being poor. Aforementioned, when exposure to the sun creates low nutrients in soil due to the absence of trees it results in effecting the water cycle because trees play a critical role in the quality of our water as they return water vapour back into the atmosphere.
As the Amazon rainforest is known as “the lungs of the earth”, it is essential that it is sustained properly and is well cared for. Non- government organisations play a predominant role in responding to the issue of land clearing. Some organisations include; Conservation International, the World Wildlife Fund, Rainforest Action Network, and Amazon Watch. The World Wildlife Fund is linked with the government as they sometimes shape their policies which protect rainforests. The Brazil government has incorporated policies for instance the Plan for Prevention and Control of Deforestation of the Amazon, which included 13 government agencies working collectively to combat deforestation. Non government organisations assist in a range of issues which are all relevant in preventing the rates of deforestation from increasing such as developing campaigns to raise awareness, defend rights of native people living in these forests, and teaching farmers how to use their land more efficiently. As an individual, there are many methods on how to make a difference. For example, Greenpeace providing information as to how you can save rainforests, by participating in the following: •Buying products from companies which are environmentally friendly •Providing your friends, families, and community with knowledge and skills •Questioning how the products you buy are going to impact rainforests •Ensuring products have some sort of certification
•Making a donation to non-profiting organisations
•Strengthening community action
Another example is the organisation Conservation International who keeps an eye on threatened species within the Amazon through the count of population. They also inform governments about species which are at risk in order for the government to use their power and take action.
Overall, land clearing stills continues as an impact of human interactions regardless of the knowledge that individuals, groups and industries obtain about the effects and collateral damage deforestation causes. The demand for resources from the Amazon Rainforest will always be continuous and deforestation can not completely be avoided. However, there has been a decline in land clearing rates and it has been the lowest as ever recorded and every time it has been recorded it kept shrinking. Through analysis and the statistical pattern, it encounters that the strategies that are involved in the protection of the Amazon Rainforest are well in fact effective.