Rainforests Have Been Declining Rapidly over the Last Few Decades. There Are Various Factors Responsible for This Decline, Resulting in Serious Impacts on the Environment and the Economy. Critically Discuss the Causes

Topics: Deforestation, Rainforest, Agriculture Pages: 3 (892 words) Published: April 26, 2011
Rainforests have been declining rapidly over the last few decades. There are various factors responsible for this decline, resulting in serious impacts on the environment and the economy. Critically discuss the causes of deforestation and solutions to it.

Deforestation is the cutting down of a large area of trees and the destruction of forests by people. Forests are what we call an exhaustible resource, one which can be used up if it is not used carefully. Over the last few decades, deforestation has threatened the rainforests with total extinction. To understand why deforestation is such an important issue, you first have to understand why trees matter. Trees improve in many ways the life of all species, including the human race. They help to maintain the Earth’s benevolent atmosphere, provide shelter for much biodiversity, but also have a high commercial value. As a consequence there is much critical debate around the causes and solutions for deforestation.

Data released by the Brazilian government in 2009, shows that the deforestation of the Amazon is at its lowest rate since record-keeping began in 2000. However, despite many conservation efforts, global deforestation continues and generates almost 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Claudio Maretti, Conservation Director of WWF-Brazil, explained that the country needs to work on decreasing deforestation as much as on reducing emissions generated by the industry and transport sectors. For him, the creation of a cash incentive for producers who conserve the forest would be the solution for halting forest loss. (WWF 2009)

For this cash incentive to be effective in conserving forests, studies shows that a distinction needs to be made between the benefits to society, and the values accrued to private agents as a consequence of deforestation. These show that the problem of deforestation is more down to a market failure where private agents (entrepreneur, corporation, community, etc.) and society do...
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