Deforestation in the Amazon’s rain forest is becoming a very serious issue. Each year during the 1980s, farmers and ranchers cleared an average of 25 000 square kilometers of the forest. Though the rate of deforestation has decreased steadily over the past year, tree destruction is on the rise again.
The Amazon region is the largest rain forest of the earth. It covers more than 10 million square kilometer and extends into French Guiana, Surname, Guyana, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Columbia. Since the Amazon rainforest is located within the tropics, there is little variation in temperatures and high precipitation. These conditions are ideal for plant growth; consequently, the Amazon region is the most diverse ecosystem found on earth. Exotic flora such as mahogany and rosewood, as well as spices, nuts and rare medicinal plants can be found in this region. Because the valuable woods grow densely in this area, logging companies and farmers begins to deplete the area by taking away the lumber and clearing the land. The El Nino weather phenomenon that occurred in 1997 further aggravates those fires. It has dramatically reduced humidity in the Amazon, turning foliage into kindling.
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The major factor contributing to the increased deforestation was Brazil’s better-than-expected-recovery from a recession following the devaluation of its currency in January of 1999. Economic improvement brings more demand for timber and land. Though Brazil is blessed with many natural resources, its foreign debts, which amount to 285 billion dollars (U.S.) make Brazil’s government vulnerable to manage the rainforest effectively. Due to the enormous debts, the Brazilian government encouraged poor people to go into the rainforest, settle on new land, and paid them to farm there. Forest fire is a major catalyst of the increasing rate of deforestation. Interestingly, fires that occur in the Amazon are usually the result of farmers burning off jungle scrub for pasture. Thus, fire also acts as the primary catalyst in speeding up deforestation in the Amazon.
The Amazon produces 1/3 of the world’s oxygen while taking away the carbon dioxide gas. As human race is destroying the Amazon at an alarming rate, it is predicted that the Amazon, as well as all the other rainforests will be destroyed in the next 20 years. Exploitation and clearance of natural forests are destroying the environment and way of life for tens of thousands of indigenous people. The loss of woods means depriving soil of nutrition, which leads to a receding forest. A receding forest causes more rainfall and more risks of soil erosion. When trees are lost, the green house effect will take place even quicker, emitting gases such as CO2 that causes an increase in temperature and a drier atmosphere. Disappearing forest cover also represents incalculable losses in biological diversity and ecological services, including nutrient recycling, watershed management, and climate regulation.
In my opinion, I think there isn’t any short term solution to deforestation in the Amazon region. However, the long term solutions may be the following: to develop a system of forest extension and public education to ensure better awareness, appreciation and management of forests; to develop better forest education for workers of the forest industry (especially the ranchers) so that they will not devalue the worth of trees; to lower waste and over-consumption by international consumers. I believe that there isn’t a "best" solution to the issue of Amazon Deforestation. All of them are effective ways to decrease the destruction of trees and can be progressed simultaneously.
The funding of this overall solution should not be a major problem. First of all, public education can be incorporated into everyday school text and in commercials. Furthermore, better training for forest workers can be paid by the lumber companies themselves with law enforcement. Since most lumber companies of the Amazon region are mostly from richer foreign countries, finding the extra fund to provide more extensive training for their employees should not cost any difficulty and is reasonably acceptable. The most difficult part of this integral solution is to lower waste and over-consumption internationally. This action must be done through the efforts of all countries and the cooperation of their people. If these solutions can be satisfied, people in the world may continue to enjoy the nature’s blessings and to live safely in harmony with this world we called the Earth.
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