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Why do conflicts arise when Tropical Rainforests are threatened with clearance? Reference your answer with a specific area.

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Introduction

Why do conflicts arise when Tropical Rainforests are threatened with clearance? Reference your answer with a specific area. (10 marks) The tropical rainforests are unique treasure troves for many biologists and geologists. This biome is the most biologically diverse ecosystem in the world, home to 50% of the world's species and contains a fifth of the world's fresh water. It is largely unexplored in scientific terms, and the great diversity of life found within these areas holds great interest with members of the scientific community, particularly with regard to the research of medical sciences. Despite this, tropical rainforests are disappearing at an exponential rate. Human activity has reduced global coverage from 18 million km2 to less than 10.5 km2. Much of the worlds tropical rainforest is found in less economically developed countries (LEDC's). These countries are willing to exploit the natural world and its resources in their struggle to develop. There are a number of factors that lead to or add to the destruction of the rainforests, many of these issues are interlinked, lead to other problems or simply create a vicious cycle. ...read more.

Middle

The Ecuadorian government believes that the rainforest within its borders are the answer to its problem. Vast quantities of oil have been discovered beneath the rainforest. In 1981 three thousand barrels of the black gold were extracted, in less than a decade production had increased by 10,000%. The extraction instantly resulted in major problems. Accidents released at least 18 million gallons of oil into the Ecuadorian Amazon region since production first began. The chemicals inadvertently introduced into the water decimated many aquatic ecosystems, systems/ that the natives relied on for food. The damage did not stop there. Secondary affects threatened not only the Huaorani's home, but also their culture. To increase efficient export of oil, a vast project was introduced to improve infrastructure. This involved the construction of roads deep into areas of untouched rainforest. Not only did this result in destruction of yet more rainforest, it also allowed increased opportunities for settlers to colonise virgin forest. With extra settlers, yet more space was needed for farms. 35,000 hectares of rainforest was cleared for these settlers. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Ecuadorian government chose to ignore the fact that they were building on a United Nations designated natural reserve. With land reclaimed, some Huaorani adopted their previous lifestyle. The oil companies/settlers and cash crop barons were encouraged to implement new methods of farming, in particular the idea of permaculture, whereby farming has minimal affect on the environment by keeping the changes in microclimate at minimal levels. This is achieved in the rainforest by maintaining the canopy of trees over cash crops. This reduces the leaching of nutrients from the soils, thereby increasing the sustainability of the soil. Meanwhile, the Huaorani promote awareness of the importance of the environment by ecotours. In this situation the conflict of interests has come to an acceptable compromise, although the damage to the rainforest and the Huaorani people's culture cannot be undone. In many cases, other peoples indigenous to the tropical rainforests of the world were not so lucky, their home and culture was stripped away from them as people of the developed world turned a blind eye as they drank coffee in their mahogany furnished living rooms. ...read more.

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