Amazon Rainforest – Deforestation

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The main and most important reason why tropical rainforests need to be preserved is the fact that they’re enabling life on Earth. Not only are they absorbing carbon dioxide and creating oxygen in the process, they’re also regulating temperature and are producing important nutrients like nitrogen and phosphor and are protecting watersheds from erosion of salt as well. Tropical rainforests can be also quite helpful on field of pharmacology and new medication researching because between thousands of different plants that have their habitat here and perhaps they’re even hiding potential cure for menaces of the modern world like cancer and AIDS.

But what about their destruction, can this process be stopped? Between 1970 and now, Brazil lost more than 600,000 sq km (232 000 sq miles) of Amazon rainforest which is very disturbing information. Through this article main reasons for such deforestation will be presented and methods that could mean preservation of Amazon rainforest will be pointed out. First let’s point out the main reasons that are causing this high amount of deforestation.

Most important deforestation factor is clearing forest area for cattle pasture and it causes 60-70 % of total deforestation. Since cattle breeding is very profitable business and doesn’t require high maintenance expenditures and gives very solid profit, it’s very clear why such big percent of Amazon forest is being destroyed because of cattle pasture. Increasing number of cattle needs more area on which they can pasture and because of this reason forests are often being replaced by savannas and other coarse grasses.

Second great cause of deforestation is also connected with agriculture but this time with farms. Since most population in Brazil is still very much oriented on agriculture, large areas of forests are being cleared in order to leave more space to cultivable areas, where especially poor farmers are being stimulated by government politics to settle and work on these areas. Since farmers use fire in this process, whole procedure has its negative effect doubled, because not only forests areas are being destroyed but also large quantities of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are being released in atmosphere having negative impact on whole biosystem and polluting air we breathe.

Large growth of cultivable areas is also connected with advanced production of soybean because Brazilian scientists have discovered new sorts of soybean and soybean is very expensive and very appreciated on world market and Brazil has such rapid growth with soybean production that according to some predictions soon will go even past the USA which at this moment holds first place in soybean production. Although many people would think that logging is main cause for such huge deforestation that’s not true because it causes only 2-4 % of total deforestation. Tropical rainforests are presenting large source of expensive wood among which special place has precious ebony and that’s the reason why illegal logging is so much expanded and profitable business, namely because of high prices of this wood.

Just for example of that in September 2003, 17 people were arrested under incrimination that they destroyed 10 000 hectares of forest area and this is just small drop in the sea of illegal logging. Last factor that causes deforestation is infrastructure building, especially of roads and dams and it makes about 2-4 % of total deforestation.

Famous example of this politic is building of Trans-Amazonian Highway which had its purpose not only in connection between distant places but also in opening of new areas to farmers and easier exploiting of wooden riches. After this famous project was done, deforestation has gone to a whole new level and this presents a real example how building of infrastructure can cause complete ecological chaos. But can these factors be prevented or could they be at least slowed down until the level that could be more tolerable to environment?

There’s still hope but only under this conditions.

First of all, former forest areas should be rehabilitated which is not that difficult process if at least small part of former biosystem is saved. Rehabilitation also needs higher productivity of cultivable areas and intellectual approach to agriculture by using modern methods and by influencing on farmers and their ecological conscience which often brakes down the whole procedure. Number of protected forest areas should also be increased and for that strong and systematic politic is needed.

Laws should be very precise and very strict with huge punishments for its offenders, not only fines but also jail sentences for more severe lawbreaking. But the most important thing is to influence on ecological conscience of all people by trying to present them negative consequences of deforestation that could easily cause catastrophic effect to all life on Earth and result in even more expressed climate changes. Only fast intervention on all fields can have success, because humanity needs to find the right way while it still can. To make harmony between ecology and economy is very difficult task but by no means impossible.

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