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Explain why deforestation in theamazon rainforest is a continuing concern.

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Explain why deforestation in the amazon rainforest is a continuing concern. Deforestation is a major global problem with serious consequences to the planet. These consequences have a negative effect on the climate, biodiversity, the atmosphere and threatens the cultural and physical survival of life. Deforestation is the permanent destruction of indigenous forests and woodlands. It has resulted in the reduction of indigenous forests to four-fifths of their pre-agricultural area, so that now indigenous forests cover only 21% of the earth's land surface. CAUSES Commercial logging, clearance for agriculture, roads and railways, forest fires, mining and drilling, fuel wood collection and clearance for living space are all intimately connected with deforestation. Tropical forests are destroyed for several reasons, each of which have both similar and differing ecological consequences, none of which are beneficial. There is an ever increasing demand for both farm and grazing land which results in the burning and clearing of rain forests for agriculture production. Another cause of deforestation is the continued urbanization of the world and thus the need for construction of roads and industrialization. The need for fuel and timber for construction is another major factor leading to the destruction of the rain forest. The two most commonly causes of deforestation are shifting cultivation and commercial logging for teak, mahogany, rosewood and other timber for furniture, building materials, charcoal and other wood products. ...read more.


Another form of soil loss is from intense rain after deforestation. When deforestation takes place the soil is left with nothing to protect it as the trees prevents the rain reaching the soil at full impact, so the soil becomes very loose and can be easily washed away. Silting of water courses, lakes and dams is also a result of soil erosion. Deforestation also contributes to desertification which is the spread of deserts into semi arid lands. It is said this happens because an increase in the amount of trees being destroyed leads to a loss of vegetation and an increase in soil erosion. The soil erosion leads to greater demands being made on the productive land that is left. As a result, the carrying capacity of the environment is exceeded and the fragile soils of the semi arid regions are destroyed. Social Effects of Deforestation The process of deforestation had numerous social effects for the population of Brazil and the world. It is equally important to note that besides the indigenous population, there were also agriculturalists, hunters, and extractives that lived in the rainforests. The agriculturalists, mostly Portuguese-speaking settlers, occupied the varzeas, the fertile flood plains, for permanent agriculture. This was possible because soil fertility was renewed annually during flooding. In 1990, the flood plains made up about 5 per cent of the Amazon's areas and the flood plains included over half of all the land suitable for permanent agriculture. ...read more.


The most recent survey on deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions reports that deforestation may account for as much as 10% of current greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases are gases in the atmosphere that literally trap heat. There is a theory that as more greenhouse gasses are released into the atmosphere, more heat gets trapped. Thus, there is a global warming trend in which the average temperature becomes progressively higher. 6. Soil Erosion The relationship between deforestation and soil erosion. Deforestation is known to contribute to run-off of rainfall and intensified soil erosion. The seriousness of the problem depends much on soil characteristics and topography. 7. Other Effects There many rewards such as clean air and clean water, perhaps the two most important, that forests provide. Rainforests also provide many aesthetic, recreational and cultural rewards. If the rainforests are destroyed, then these rewards disappear. This has major social consequence for the entire world. SOLUTIONS - Sustainable Development If development in the rainforest is to be sustainable (e.g. although the resources are used to aid development, it/they will still exist for future generations to use) a number of measures must be taken. These include: Afforestation - Trees should be replanted in areas of deforestation. Shifting Cultivation - Farmers should move on after 2-3 years to allow the rainforest to recover. Rubber tapping - More sustainable methods of exploiting the rainforest should be pursued e.g. rubber tapping Measuring trees - Trees should only be cut down when they reach a certain size. This will ensure younger trees survive longer and will encourage careful management of the rainforest. ...read more.

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