The battle for the Amazon rainforest is a daunting task. It's a long going battle between miners, loggers, and developers against the indigenous people who call it home. It's a battle like any battle in a war; it affects lives, families, the economy, politics, and the environment amongst other things. The main topic of this debate is the effects of the Amazon deforestation on the people who live in it, this will be the focus of this research paper. In this paper, I will discuss the history, causes, effects and solutions for the Amazon rainforest deforestation.
Needless to say, the environmental problems of today started a long time ago, before automobiles, electricity, and the Industrial Revolution. From ancient times to present day, humans have changed the world in which they live. As population increase and technology advances, more significannot and widespread problems arise. The Amazon rainforest has not been spared from this. The Amazon region has long been seen as a land of great riches. "Early Europeans and others have long been fascinated by the Amazon, with early visions of a land of gold, the legend of El Dorado'" (Faminow 32). The European invasion bought with it the increased population and new technologies that had a drastic effect to the Amazonian region, which was once considered safe from exploitation. This problem has continued to the present, with higher consequences. Ehrlich explains, "today, unprecedented demands on the environment from a rapidly expanding human population and from advancing technology are causing a continuing and accelerated decline in the quality of the environment and it's ability to sustain life" (98). As a result, the Amazon rainforest is being destroyed at an alarming rate, affecting all those that live in the region.
To understand the scope of the changes taking place, Howard Facklam has come up with some staggering statistics, he says, "it was estimated at one point in the 1980's that the Amazon basin was being cleared at the rate of 50 acres a minute; another estimate put the rate at 78,000 square miles per hear" (53). These are astronomical numbers when you come to think of it, to put it into perspective, that's roughly the size of the state of Idaho. Such deforestation has an alarming affect, "it means the loss of a multiplicity of products: Food, fibers, medicine, dyes, gums, and resins" (Facklam 53). Not stated in Facklam's statistics are the effects to the wildlife of the areas as they are drive out of their natural habitat. What kind of condition will the Amazon be in if this trend continues? If this rate continues, there might not be anything left of the rainforest by the year 2050. This is why preservation and conservation groups are so militant in trying to stop the terrible loss of the rainforest and all that it provides.
In what ways are the rainforests being destroyed in the Amazonian region? The groups that get the most blame are the loggers and miners who exploit the land. Imaging, if you will, a bulldozer driving down trees with reckless abandon in the lush forest. Not only is the logger tearing down trees, but he is also tearing down an invisible wall that separates the peaceful paradise of the jungle and the modern materialistic world. The purpose of the loggers is not to destroy every tree standing in their path and cash in on it, rather, the loggers are a picky breed. They are selective in the kind of trees they want. They prefer the hardwood trees such as the balsa tree and huaca tree. In the effort to attain these few types of trees, the loggers do more damage than needed. "Amazonian timbering typically extracts one tree per hectare [2.4 acres], but it does so with enormous damage. As logger move in with roads and skidders, they kill or damage more than 52% of those trees that remain" (Hecht 141). So it's not so much the logging itself that depletes the forests, but the process of logging. It leaves these forests...
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