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'The loss of tropical rainforests is the most crucial ecological issue of our time.'

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Introduction

'The loss of tropical rainforests is the most crucial ecological issue of our time.' CATHERINE CAUFIELD, AUTHER OF 'IN THE RAINFORESTS. The Background. 1a Large areas of the Amazon Rainforest have already been removed, there is an estimated 20% been cut and burnt down. This problem can be caused by many different reasons. The Amazon is such a central area for worry because it contains over 50% of the world's natural rainforests and if it is destroyed then the ultimate scenario is world devastation. Circumstances that make people feel the need to cut down rainforests cause people to go about it in different ways. The ways in which they go about it can be classified as either sustainable or non-sustainable. Unfortunately most practices that go on in the rainforest are non-sustainable and can cause long- term damage to them. The reasons for the deforestation are very complicated. It is a vicious circle. Here are some of those reasons: THE RAINFOREST IS RICH IN RESOURSES. The rainforest covers a large amount of land and under its surface there are many natural resources such as gold, oil, natural gases, coal and iron, tin and bauxite ores. As these types of resources are becoming scarce in other parts of the world and the Amazon is rich in them, people are moving to the Amazon to mine them. Opencast mining is often used; this causes large areas of devastation as the land is stripped of its topsoil and nutrients to get to the minerals underneath. Another resource of the rainforest is its large amount of timber. ...read more.

Middle

iv New species of animal and plant are still being found today. The rainforest is a concentrated source of new species and so it is valuable in that way. There still maybe many species out there that we don't know about and if the rainforest is destroyed the species could disappear along with them. 3. These tables show the effect that three different projects would have on the local environment, the local people, the local economy and the national economy if they took place. Small Scale Village Enterprises Local Environment Local People Local Economy National Economy Will not damage environment too much as it is a sustainable way of managing the land. Provide reliable source of employment. Provide a higher income than before. Provide some income, mainly through taxes etc. Use the resources in the rainforests instead of destroying them. Gives opportunities to learn different crafts. May bring in some foreign currency Again, may bring in some foreign currency. Learn how to use sustainable forms of agriculture, fishing, and hunting. Provide small steady income. Make them feel that they are doing something to help and give an opportunity for them to plan for the long term. 3b A Multinational Drug Company Local Environment Local People Local Economy National Economy Lots of land would need to be cleared to occupy lodgings, transport links, laboratories etc. Some local employment. Provide some income, might be unequal distribution. Income brought in from rent on the land. Some areas though will be carefully preserved to aid drug progress. Some local culture may be lost. ...read more.

Conclusion

Some good restrictions were thought up for the Sarawak rainforest in Malaysia. They are quoted from a text- book here: * Loggers must extract no more than 10 to 20 percent of timber from any conservation area. * When operations have finished the logged zone must be left to recover for between 25 and 40 years. Although these restrictions did not work in Malaysia because they were not enforced enough, if you do choose to use them then you could learn from their mistakes and enforce them as much as possible. A sustainable use is frequently one that does not include leaving large areas of open space as, because the soils are very poor, a lot of soil erosion can take place. A good explanation of this is given in the book, 'Conserving Rainforests', 'Without the tree cover, rain cannot be absorbed and so it drains off the ground, gradually washing away the topsoil. Stripped of its nutrients, the remaining soil is of little value for crop growing. The soil that has been washed away causes rivers to become blocked with silt. When tropical rainstorms occur, the blocked rivers burst their banks, causing extensive flooding.' So this goes to show that if non-sustainable land use goes on and causes flooding then the sustainable land users will suffer also. It is hard because Western countries have not set a good example as they have destroyed most of their rainforests but that just means that the remaining ones are even more important so need to be preserved. Yours sincerely, Hayley Pearcy. 'The rainforest is a beautiful and diverse natural system. We should preserve it for aesthetic reasons and for future generations.' COLLINS GEOGRAPHY STUDY AND REVISION GUIDE. 1 ...read more.

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