Reasons For Deforestation
- Farming - Land cleared for farming and settlements to support rapidly growing population. Land is constantly cleared for use by shifting cultivators.
- Cattle Ranches - Multi national compaies such as McDonalds etc have turned large areas into cattle ranches for MEDCs. Large areas burnt to make room.
- Satisfy needs of MEDCs - demand for timber, especially mahogany. Provides essential income for LEDCs.
- Building of Highways - eg. Trans Amazonian Highway. To develop Brazil and transport it's natural resources.
- Provide land for some of 25 million landless people in Brazil who were encouraged to move by the government.
- To develop the regions natural wealth - Iron ore, bauxite, copper, manganese and Hydro Electric Power (HEP)
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Effects of Deforestation.
- Loss of wildlife - mammals, birds, insects and reptiles have all lost habitats and food. Some species of tree, such as mahogany are becoming endangered. Islandisation of species.
- Destruction of Amerindian ways of life - There were approximately 6 million amerindians when europeans arrived, now only around 200 000, 96% decrease.
- The nutrient cycle - If trees are removed, nutrient cycle is broken and nutririents are quickly washed away by the heavy rain, leaving soil infertile.
- Soil Erosion - without protective canopy, soil is exposed to rain causing increased run off and soil erosion. Can lead to increase in flooding.
- Infertile land - many cattle ranches and farms have been abandoned because of infertile soil, and not being able to afford fertilisers. Increase in dwellings along the highways.
- The rainforest holds one quarter of the worlds fresh water and one third of the worlds oxygen comes from the rainforest. Both these would be lost because of deforestation.
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Benefits and costs of Human intervention.
- Improving Transportation - Building roads and airports provides jobs, reduces isolation of amazon. Sell goods all year and revenue from exports in taxes. Encourage development that destroys the environment of Amerindians and threatens their culture. Maintenance costs and building costs.
- Small Scale Farming Provides jobs and food for locals and improves quality of life. Causes deforestation and fragmentation. Decrease in soil fertility.
- Large Scale Farming Food for growing population, employs locals and money from exports. Overgrazing causes soil infertility, large areas scarred and abandoned. Nutrients lost, and major deforestaion.
- Mining Projects Large profits to LEDCs and export revenue in taxes, so infrastructure can be developed. Ilegal goldminers destroy vegetation by water jets. Water pollution with toxic mercury. Land lest unusable.
- Logging jobs, and good profits. Only one in 20 trees is wanted, but surrounding trees are destroyed. Some species becoming endangered.
- Hydro Electric Power - Provides electricity for local people, and improves quality of life. Clean Power source. Flooding large areas of land, destroying animal habitats and displacing people.
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- Considering a tax on hardwood which will be used for reafforestation schemes.
- Areas where logging activities are banned or very strictly controlled.
- Taxing endangered hardwood products to reduce profits, and reduce international trade in logging.
- Many high street shops have banned the sale of rainforest products not produced in a sustainable way.
- Only certain trees are wanted, so these will be planted in certain areas to stop other trees being destroyed.
- Research into how many trees can be felled without causing permanent damage.
- Advice to logging companies:
- limit number of trees felled in an area.
- leave enough trees for the forest to recover.
- plant two for every one tree felled.
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Sustainable Development continued.
- Sustainable logging plantations
- Rubber tapping
- Medicinal plants
- Non timber forest products
- Network of forest parks/reserves
- IBAMA, Brazillian Environmental Protction Agency
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