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The Ways in Which the Amazon Rainforest is Exploited

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The Ways in Which the Amazon Rainforest is Exploited

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  • December 13, 2003
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There are many ways in which the rainforest is exploited. Many of these ways are damaging to the environment.

Rubber tapping causes almost no damage to the rainforest. Rubber tapping takes the natural latex from the tree by scraping grooves into the surface of the tree. The natural latex then falls into a cup, and is removed and processed to make the rubber. Rubber trees are quite rare - in a thirty square kilometre area, with 20,000 trees, there may be just sixty rubber trees.

Timber logging causes a lot of damage to the rainforest. Timber logging is very popular as a mahogany tree can sell for £500 per cubic metre. However, mahogany trees are very rare, as there are only around one or two trees per hectare. In the process of cutting down one tree, twenty eight other trees are damaged. These trees are damaged by the mahogany tree falling on it, being cleared to build a road to transport the tree out, and other problems. There are around twenty less valuable trees per kilometre that are cut down by the loggers. Around thirty trees per logger can be cut down in one day. This results in 15,000 trees being cut down in a year by a team of two loggers. The logs are then floated down the river in huge rafts to one of over 4,000 saw mills.

Tin mining also causes a lot of damages to the rainforest. It results in a large area of rainforest being cleared. Other metals mined for include gold, copper, bauxite (a metal used in the process of making aluminium), iron, manganese and lead. The tin fetches around US$6,000 per tonne. The metals are mined by a high pressure hose by blasting off the topsoil. The metal is the collected. In areas of rock, people use traditional mining metals to collect the metals.

Cattle ranching began in the 1980s. Large areas of forests (up to 15,000 hectares) were cleared to provide the area for the ranches. One ranch contained 2,000 cattle in 3,000 hectares of forest. This was a medium sized ranch. The cattle used in ranches are Zebu...