Amazon Rainforest Nearing Its End, All Thanks to Its Reckless Deforestation
Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest. It is spread across eight countries and occupies 40% of the South America. It is responsible for 20% of the earth’s oxygen supply and is a home to millions of animal species, but over past few decades, it has fallen prey to reckless deforestation. Since last 40 years, 20 percent of the Amazon rainforest has been cut down for commercial purposes and it has been estimated that if it goes on with the same pace, by 2060, the whole rainforest will be destroyed.
Causes of Deforestation
Cattle ranching is solely responsible for 80% of the deforestation in the area. Brazil is the largest exporter of beef and is a home to some of the largest herding communities in the world. Trees in the Amazon rainforest serve as a pasture for their livestock. These animals are then slaughtered to be sold in the leather and meat industries. According to Greenpeace organization, in ten years (from 1996 to 2006), an area about the size of Portugal was cleared out by the herders for the purpose of cattle ranching.
Subsistence farming, also known as self-sufficient farming is one of the major reasons for deforestation in Brazil Amazon. The majority of the unoccupied lands in these forests is cleared out by the poor dwellers and peasants for practicing agriculture. In fact, only 10% of the Amazon soil are fertile enough for supporting agriculture. For this very reason, these dwellers keep on shifting to new areas, often leaving a patch of deforested land in their way. Various amazon tribes, often resort to slash and burn techniques to sustain their soil fertility for effective agriculture.
Various mining operations, hydroelectric dam projects, commercial logging and road projects have likewise added to the cause of deforestation.
How are People Affected?
According to Rainforest Foundation, around 1.2 billion people in the world in some or other way, depend on the rainforest for their survival. Amazon is a home to 20 million native people, and these people depend on it for their food, shelter and medicines. Excessive deforestation has led to displacement of these indigenous people as their land has been taken away by the logging and mining companies.
Deforestation has a direct impact on the global climate change. Forest plays a vital role in removing carbon dioxide and helps to reduce the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Deforestation not only stops the carbon cycle, but instead it increases the discharge of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Deforestation is the 2nd largest cause of global warming on the earth.
Rainforests are one of the major sources for manufacturing medicines, almost 70% of all anti-cancer plants are found in the rainforest. And most of the tribes and traditional people in South America, depend on medicinal plants of the Amazon, for their treatments.
By Harnur Virk
Amazonia: Amazon spreads across 5.5 million square kilometers of area in South America. In terms of size, it is more than 21 times bigger than the United Kingdom.
Spread Of Amazon: 60% of the Amazon rainforest lies within Brazil, followed by 13% in Peru, 10% in Colombia and the rest of it lies within six other nations.
Deforestation: 20% of the Amazon land has already been destroyed by deforestation.
Top View: Satellite image of the deforested region.
Feeding Cattles: Cattle ranching is the biggest cause of deforestaion in Amazon.
Building Roads: New roads uncover the unreachable areas in the forest, often leaving the forest areas exposed to illegal loggers.
Forest Fires: Amazon fires are a result of deforestation and extreme drought conditions.
Climate Change: According to Green Peace Organization, Brazil is the 4th largest polluter in the world and 75% of the greenhouse emission in Brazil is due to deforestation.
Natives: Amazon tribes are terrorized by the logging companies to vacate their land.
Forest patrol: IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) recruited soldiers guarding the place from illegal loggers.
Deforestation Statistics: Amazon deforestation rate has decreased significantly in 21st century.
The Brazilian government has been quite receptive to this issue and has been successful in reducing the deforestation rate by 67% in less than 10 years. Satellite monitoring systems have made it possible to get a quick update of the deforestation activities in the area. Various campaigns initiated by NGOs and environmentalists have been quite conducive to the cause.
The final and the most important thing to know here is that, even if the government comes up with all kinds of new rules and laws, no change is going to take place unless people decide to change. The only reason why such illegal deforestation takes place is because there is huge depend for products. Beef, leather, furniture and other such industries are emerging in these places only because there is a strong demand among the people for their products. And the only way to tackle this problem is by using resources in a judicious and sustainable manner. Using recyclable, energy efficient products and shifting to a vegan diet, could make a lot of difference towards this cause. A wise decision taken by you could save Amazon’s future. Shop green- Every Purchase Funds the Protection of Vital Habitat.