As destruction of the rainforest continues, man slowly paves the inevitable path to a clear end. It has been known that the rainforest is an essential provider for the balance of the mother earth and that it acts as a key for life as we know it. Yet, the world still decides to quietly watch the disappearance. In fact, most people realize what exactly is taking place. But however, instead of trying to aid in the termination of this disaster. They place this into the back of their ignorant little minds thinking that it will not directly effect them. Every day the removal continues, it actually occurs extremely fast and at a pace of 80 acres per minute. That means at 80 acres per minute with 60 minutes per hour and 24 hours a day, there is a loss of approximately 115,000 acres a day. This is an exorbitant amount forest loss in one day meaning that at this pace hastened by the roadrunner ethics, that the forest will not have a place in the environment for very long. The fact is that now is the time to voice your opinion before and act it is too late.
There are many reasons as to why a country would allow their environment to be desecrated. Most of this rests within a money factor, being that the rainforest’s provide an abundance of marketable resources. Logging companies are known as the most outstanding. In fact many corporations have realized that the rainforest supplies an abundance of resources, however, there are four that are the most prominent. These reasons are, farming, ranching, logging and business related attributes, and overpopulation.
Farmers are the agents of more Rainforest destruction than any other factor. Farmers in rainforest countries are often poor and can’t afford to buy land that has already been cultivated. Instead of purchasing lands, the country of residence often allows the farmers to obtain forestland for relatively low cost and sometimes free. The reason for this being that the more agricultural products the county provides to export, the more profit that the country can make. With this being the case these farmers will purchase these lands. After a purchase is made the farmer then in-turn can do as pleases. Farmers then destroy all trees upon the land in an effort to provide ideal cultivation areas to produce large cash crop products. Although they will use this land for generating food products, the main concern lies within the fact that soil in which they will be using is extremely low in nutrients. This meaning that every 2 to 3 years of usage the farmer will then be forced to expunge the used land followed by the obtaining of new lands. This in-turn becomes a continual cycle where the farmers become parasites of the land, where day by day they will suck every ounce of life from the land until it is dry.
Ranching is another cause for destruction of rainforests. Ranchers obtain land in the same method as farmers do, but however, they are not forced to move from land to land as the farmers do. Ranchers clear large areas of rainforest to become pastures for their cattle. This land does not cost them very much and often more then not the ranchers are able to collect this land for free, enabling them to sell cattle at relatively low prices. Cattle ranching for beef exports are perhaps one of the largest culprits for the decimation of rainforest’s. Government figures attributes 38% of the deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon between the years 1966 and 1975 to large-scale cattle ranching, 31% to agriculture and 27% to highway construction. Because this method is very profitable, ranchers continue to clear rainforest land. Throughout the course of the 1980?s, about 16.9 million hectares of tropical rainforest were cut down from cattle ranchers.
The third major reason lies within large-scale business. There are virtually billions of dollars that are invested in products that are produced form the rainforest. Mining for valuable resources plays a significant role. Since 1987, the year gold was discovered, as many as 40,000 gold miners have poured into the area of the Yanomami Indian lands. Mercury, which is used in the mining process, poisons the rivers, which in-turn affects downstream habitats and forest life. Not only do they affect the vegetation and wild life but this causes direct forest loss due to the clearing of land to establish mining projects. Roads will then be constructed through previously inaccessible land, opening up the forest. When they are finished the result is permanent, severe water, air and land pollution is the final product.
Logging, which is included, accounts for significant tree loss per year. Commercial logging companies cut down mature trees that have been selected for their unusual and exotic timber. When these trees are selected large areas of rainforest are destroyed in order to remove only a few logs. The heavy machinery, which is used to penetrate the forests and build roads, causes extensive damage and produces large tracks where they have been. These tracks and the clearings left behind by loggers are sites of extreme soil disturbance, which begins to erode in heavy rain. This in-turn causes siltation of the forests, rivers and streams, making re-vegetation impossible for the next 2 to 3 hundred years. Siltation causes the water to become choked with mud and all life that depends on that clean water eventually suffocates. Most of this timber is then exported to the rich international markets of other foreign countries that will not be directly affected for the time being. There, it is sold for hundreds of times the price that is paid to the indigenous people whose forests has been plundered. After leaving these markets, the tropical timber will be used in construction of doors, window frames, crates, coffins, furniture, plywood sheets, chopsticks, household utensils and other ridiculous items.
The fourth major reason lies within colonization. Major governments and international agencies for a long time believed that by encouraging colonization and Trans-migration to forest regions, they will eliminate the poverty that is dominant in these rainforest regions. This in actuality is not the solution to poverty, more and often then not, these resettled groups of people suffer the same problems before they left. The reasons being that the soil is simply not fertile enough to sustain the people for long enough. Some governments like the Brazilian push for migration to forest for political purposes. They claim that the reason is purely from overpopulation, but the fact is that Brazil’s population disbursement is equal to the United States.
One major concern lies within the green house effect. This occurs from large quantities of carbon monoxide entering the earth’s fragile atmosphere. The rainforests harness vast quantities of carbon in their biomass. When forests are destroyed, large quantities of carbon are released into the atmosphere as CO2 or carbon dioxide. Because CO2 is the major greenhouse gas, this adds to the global warming. Atmospheric CO2 traps the sun’s heat in the same as the glass of a greenhouse, and by warming the atmosphere, it also has the potential to dramatically change the global weather patterns and increase temperatures throughout the world. Due to global warming, once permanent ice caps melt, creating higher sea levels, and a potential for engulfing coastal cities.
Another concern lies within the watershed effect. One of the most vital functions fulfilled by these forests is the control of rainfall run-off to waterways. These forests act as gigantic sponges that soak rain to store. Releasing small amounts of water vapor back into the atmosphere little by little. When the forest is removed, the watershed effect is lost. The final products being massive flooding, soil erosion and siltation of the waterways.
Industrialized countries can help ease the pressures faced upon the farmers by reducing their demand for cash crops grown in the tropics and by ceasing to give financial aid to destructive and debt-inducing development projects. Governments also need to empower the forest people indigenous to the lands. Recognizing their land rights and allowing them a decisive voice in the government of their areas. Another action would be for the governments to end policies, which assume the cultural superiority of non-forest peoples. The next course of action that needs to take place over a long-term basis is the education of the countries people. By educating women and men in the country of the importance of birth-control practices, the countries should be able to lower their population dilemmas. On top of this possible widespread acceptance of the importance of replacement reproduction, which is a limit upon children per family.
Worldwide boycotts are the most effective ways of stopping rainforest destruction. Boycotting fast food restaurants that serve hamburgers that came from cattle raised on rainforest land could help prevent matters from getting worse.
It is believed by many ecologists that some tropical forests can be harvested without causing damage to the great variety of plants and animals that live there. With careful planning, sensitive harvesting and appropriate replanting to ensure healthy new forests are regenerated. One could help prevent destruction by not buying furniture products made from rosewood, mahogany, ebony, and teakwood, because they most likely came from the rainforests.
Other solutions involve adopting acres of rainforest. For the low price of forty-five dollars, individuals such as yourself can adopt one acre of forest land. The contribution funds land acquisition, legal fees, and security costs to ensure that acre will be protected as part of a designated land preserve.
Another solution is tourism. Ecotourism programs are available for those who adopt so that they may see their land and experience the true beauty of the forests. By touring the land, one prevents actions such as poaching, illegal wood harvesting and burning, and drug-runners with secret airstrips in the north jungle.
Now is the time to voice your opinion concerning the deforestation of these tropical regions. The fact is the each and every voice counts. According to Hayes ?Ecology is not about saving a tree here and a river there; rather, it is about the complex system that governs how things work together. Both temperate and tropical rainforests are important, if we want to protect them, we must learn to use them with care and understand how forest ecosystems work, and how our everyday decisions effect their well-being.