- Created by: Basilisk
- Created on: 23-03-17 13:41
Biodiversity is defined as the variety of plant and animal life in the world, or in a particular habitat. A high level of this is usually considered to be important and desirable, so it can be the source of many conflicts. The standard of living, however, refers to the level of wealth, comfort, material goods and necessities available to a certain socioeconomic class in a certain geographic area. To achieve a high standard of living, the natural biodiversity must be sacrificed in order to fuel industrialisation. This development usually involves destroying areas of natural resource, in this case, the Amazon Rainforest. Found across the Intertropical Convergence Zone, the Rainforests are areas of extremely high and varied biodiversity. Scientists have estimated that these jungles are home to more than 50% of the world’s terrestrial plant and animal species, yet it encompasses an incredibly small area for its extraordinary diversity. Due to their position along the equator, rainforests generally receive very high rainfall each year- the Amazon experiencing between 200 and 300cm of rain in a typical year. Despite is grandeur and impressive biodiversity, this ecosystem is fragile, and human impact can have a great effect.
Found across the Intertropical Convergence Zone, Rainforests are areas of extremely high and varied biodiversity. In the tropical rainforests of Borneo, scientists have estimated that these jungles are home to more than 50% of the world’s terrestrial plant and animal species, yet it encompasses only about 6% of the world’s land area. The conditions are ideal for plants to grow healthily and quickly, yet the soil of the Amazon Rainforest is very poor. The few minerals that are held within the hummus layer are easily leached by the heavy rains that fall in the evenings, and by the various types of human intervention that is prevalent in the rainforest.
In the Amazon, there are also numerous reserves of iron ore, gold and copper. These are heavily sought-after by the majority of countries. The extraction of these minerals can be a large industry in Brazil; however, the latosol of the rainforest can be harmed by these activities. Illegal extraction in the rainforest is hard to track and control due to the dense and uncharted nature of the rainforest, meaning many areas can be depleted before regulations are put in place. The Carajάs Project, for example, encourages locals to illegally mine the rainforest as they have seen the success of the 7.2billion tonne mine.
Small-scale farming is the predominant livelihood of the local people- they clear areas of vegetation and leave them to dry, before being burnt, preventing the minerals from returning into the nutrient cycle. This works for the indigenous population on small-scales, but as more and more people from rural slums are infringing on the traditional territory, this method is rapidly becoming unsustainable. It is mainly trees that are affected by this process of clearing, namely deforestation, especially common in areas surrounding rural slums. South America is littered with poor communities that use the…