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Destruction of tropical rainforests

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Introduction

Destruction of tropical rainforests "Tropical rainforests are found in places of high rainfall, high humidity and low seasonal variation, which promote luxuriant growth throughout the year". Deforestation is the large scale removal of forest, like the Amazon in the South America, prior to its replacement by other land uses. Currently deforestation is taking place at about "17 million hectares" each year; this is an area larger than England, Wales, and Northern Ireland combined. This vast destruction is not only having a detrimental effect on the environment but also on the people who live there. The forest is being cut down because it is seen as a "get rich quick idea" by many developing countries that need the money to help to salvage its economy from debt. The land, which is left, is used for the building of roads (e.g. Trans Amazonian highway), cattle ranching, farming, for housing and for many other applications. The tropical forest is also cleared for its products such as timber that the developed world demands, rubber and food. ...read more.

Middle

For example, the "US National Cancer Institute has catalogued some 3,000 plants with anti cancer properties. 70 percent of these are found in tropical rainforests." Over half of our modern medicines originate in the rainforest. "Recently one plant, periwinkle, has been used successfully to treat child leukaemia reducing deaths from 80% to 20%." There are almost endless medical possibilities to be found in the rainforest and if the deforestation is not stopped these possibilities will be lost forever. Another negative effect is that the climate can become more extreme in nature. The probability of flooding increases because the forest is no longer able to store the rainwater. This means that water returns to the river quickly and thus a build up of water. Flooding can cause the loss of animals habitats and can kill the forest as well as the people who live in it. Global warming has become more apparent since deforestation has accelerated. The forest stores large amount of carbon, which are eventually released as carbon dioxide when the trees are burnt. ...read more.

Conclusion

Developing countries will continue to destroy the rainforest until they can afford not to. The trees in the rainforest provide fruits, spices, medicines and fibres. If some of these are put on the "international market it is estimated that each hectare of land could produce �5000." This is much more money than the amount that is made in cattle ranching and commercial logging. If this was done then the rainforest could remain and could continue to produce goods. Shifting cultivators should be taught to practice alley cropping in which they leave rows of trees between crops. This improves fertility of soil, keeps some plants out of extinction and increases yields. In conclusion it can be seen that deforestation has many economical, environmental and social effects. However there are ways to slow the process so that future generations are not drastically affected. Word Count: 1127 Sources: 1. www.ontheline.org.uk/explore/nature/rainforest/prdeforest.htm 2. www.aquapulse.net/knowledge/deforestation.html 3. Microsoft Encarta 2000 edition CD Rom. 4. Dudley, Nigel, Jeanrenaud, Jean Paul and Sullivan, Francis. Bad Harvest? The Timber Trade and the Degradation of the World's Forests. London: Earthscan Publications, 1995. 5. The Wider World, Heinemann, 1997. 6. Hutchinson's Encyclopaedia CD ROM, 1998. Mark Russell 2524 1 ...read more.

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