Energy and the Environment
Deforestation in the Amazon
Deforestation, the destruction of natural rain forests, has been a major problem in the world today; caused primarily by human activities for development and population expansion. One of the main forests that have been affected is the Amazon Rainforest in South America. The main causes of deforestation in the Amazon are cattle ranching, subsistence and commercial agriculture, infrastructure, illegal and legal logging, and other minor factors such as fires, road construction, mining, and dams. Deforestation plays a negative toll on the world by killing millions of animals, plants, and insects each day and releasing greenhouse gases. Rainforests cover thirty percent of the world and each year 78,000 square miles are cleared for specific purposes. The Amazon Rainforest, in particular, has lost twenty percent of its forest. It is the world’s largest tropical rainforest. Another name for the Amazon is “Lungs of Our Planet” due to the fact that it produces twenty percent of our Earth’s oxygen. It also offers the world’s highest level of biodiversity, meaning that it has the largest variety of living and non-living organisms. The Amazon rainforest covers nine countries in South America including Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. Today, the Amazon is being widely affected by deforestation and will never be able to retain its lost forests. Some of the main reasons of Amazonian deforestation are cattle ranching, subsistence and commercial agriculture, illegal and legal logging, and other minor factors such as fires, road construction, mining, and dams. Cattle ranching, a more extensive way of raising cattle, happens to be the leading cause of deforestation in the Amazon. Due to the fact that cattle ranching requires thousands of acres of land, it heavily impacts the Amazon rainforest. Cattle expansion has nearly...