Amazon rainforest destruction in Brazil is reducing the acreage of one of the largest rainforests in the world at an alarming rate.
This is cause for concern not only for the people in Brazil but for people everywhere who reap the natural benefits from the rainforest. It is not just a Brazil problem, but a world problem.
The air we breathe comes from the rainforest or at least some of it. Oxygen is created by recycling carbon dioxide, a process done by plants. Since the rainforest covers over a billion acres, it processes over twenty percent of oxygen used throughout the world.
Twenty-five percent of medicines used in the western hemisphere come from ingredients found in the rainforest. There are many more that have remained undiscovered by scientists. Experts believe that the rainforest may contain plants to aid in developing medicines for the treatment and cure of viruses, cancers, and even AIDS. Unfortunately, the rainforest destruction could kill those plants before they are ever found.
Much of the diet of most developed countries has come from Brazil. It is home to fruits such as figs, oranges, and pineapples. You will also find corn, rice, potatoes, and spices, along with Brazil nuts and cashews.
The amount of plants and animals that we are aware of is a tiny percentage of what lives in the rainforest. There are many untapped resources that could be beneficial to mankind once they are discovered. For instance, we use around 200 kinds of fruits found in the rainforests, but there are over 3,000. The Indian tribes use around 2,000, which tells us there many more that we could be using to help feed people.
Deforestation began in the 1940s but grew in the 1960s as cattle farmers moved there to take advantage of the rise in the price of beef. Today, the Amazon has lost approximately twenty percent of its original ground.
Brazil is the top exporter of soybeans, which are often grown by farmers in the rainforest. Because the ground is only fertile for a few years, farmers keep clearing more land to maintain their income from crops.
Logging is also responsible for much of the rainforest destruction. Not only are trees felled for the wood they provide, but many others are to create a path out of the forest. Most logging companies do not participate in selective logging, which is thought to prevent complete deforestation. Even those who do, disturb numerous acres as they select specific species of trees for harvest.
Another rampant problem in the rainforest is illegal logging. It is easy to obtain a fake logging certificate and harvest trees with many illegal methods. The government is seeking to change that by issuing electronic certificates. They have seized large numbers of illegal equipment and logs, but the problem still continues.
Because of the attention that deforestation has gotten in recent years, the rate has dropped dramatically. In 2009, only 7,000 square kilometers were lost. This is a seventy-five percent drop from the highest point in 2004, when it was over 24,000 kilometers.
While things have begun to improve in limiting deforestation, the rainforest has lost nearly one million acres since the process started. This has affected the climate not only in Brazil, but around the world.
There are many ways that people can help preserve the rainforest while halting the rainforest destruction. One way is by making the land that has been cleared more profitable. Through the use of improved technology, farmers can increase their productivity without the need to clear more land.
Replanting the forest is one of the most important steps in preserving it. In areas where some species still survive, they can repopulate if trees and other plants are replanted and cared for until they can sustain themselves. Animals and other creatures that are in danger of extinction can return to that area.
Protected areas need to be expanded and more enforcement agents hired to patrol the area. More funds are needed to allow this to happen. At the same time, involvement by those who live in the area would have a major impact.
One of the best ways to decrease the rainforest destruction is by educating the people who live in the rainforest on the proper way to care for their farms and the land that surrounds them.
Preserving the rainforest is going to take more than individual efforts. Large companies need to take a stand against the mistreatment of nature. The only motivation they will have to do that is if customers cut down their use of products and boycott items made by those companies.
If large companies are pressured to make changes by their customers, they will in turn pressure the government to make changes. It is a long process to change the mindset of people when money is involved.
An initiative that is currently being considered by lawmakers in the United States could have a definite impact on the Brazilian rainforest. Billions of dollars could be sent to countries for preserving their rainforests, protecting ecosystems, providing erosion control, and other measures designed to protect the natural habitat that everyone benefits from.
The US would be joining a worldwide response initiated by the UN to help prevent continued rainforest destruction. The initiative is called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation Forest Degradation and is called REDD for short. Many countries would be able to afford to implement plans that they cannot do today.
The rainforest is not just important to the countries where it is located, but to people in many other countries. If the rainforest continues to be lost, changes will be seen throughout the world. This requires everyone to get involved to save one of the earths most valuable resources.
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