How does deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest affect the environment? The Amazon Rainforest, located in the northern part of South America, is the largest rainforest on Earth, containing more than 60% of Earth’s fresh water, over 20% of oxygen on Earth, and huge amounts of carbon dioxide (ACEER). However, the Amazon Rainforest has been deforested principally in order to provide land for the locals who were homeless due to poverty, overpopulation, and government policies. Also, economic reasons such as providing land for cattle ranches, agriculture, logging, and mining (Maczulak) increased the rate of deforestation. In fact, since 1988, over 141,470 square miles of the Amazon Rainforest have been deforested (INPE). The imprudent use of the resources and land of the Amazon Rainforest is destroying the environment, leading to climate change, loss of biodiversity and loss of natural resources. The Amazon Rainforest plays a significant role in slowing the global warming through storing and sequestrating carbon: the numerous plants in the rainforest absorb carbon during photosynthesis and store carbon in the leaves, wood, and roots, which then permeates the soil (Powell). Consequently, the Amazon Rainforest contains “about 100 billion tons of carbon”(Powell) which is “more carbon than 10 years' worth of human produced greenhouse gases”(Casper). However, when these forests are cut down, the trees and soil release the carbon in the air, forming CO2, one of the main greenhouse gases. It is expected that by 2050, the world temperature would increase by 3.8 °C and precipitation would be reduced by 30% due to the deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest (Bondeau). Some scientists even predict that the Amazon will reach a point where it will give off more carbon than it absorbs. The release of carbon dioxide in the air will contribute to climate change, decreasing the rainfall in the rainforests, and killing more and more trees (Powell). The deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and climate change will affect each other, eventually destroying the environment. Up to one million plant species (ACEER), 2.5 million insect species, and 20% of the world’s bird species live in the Amazon Rainforest (Science Kids). It also contains “more species of animals than any other terrestrial ecosystem” in the world (ACEER). The lack of winter, wind, and specialized microhabitats make the rainforest a highly biologically diverse environment. High biodiversity is important in managing the biological “networks and systems that provide us all with health, wealth, food, fuel and the vital services our lives depend on.” (Gaia Discovery) However, the deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest is leading to a devastating consequence of a less biologically diverse environment. Only 25% of the tropical forests that have been deforested are used as land for agriculture, while the other 75% of the land is abandoned. This land’s potential as a home for plants and animals is lost, because many of the land’s nutrients were lost during deforestation, and the rainforest becomes less biologically diverse. The deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest will destroy the habitats of the vast plant and animal species, damaging the environment. As well as being home to millions of living species, the Amazon Rainforest provides many useful and important resources for human beings. “Timber, plant life, exotic animals, medicinal herbs, and dietary supplements” are some of the main resources from the Amazon Rainforest (Maczulak). In fact, 25% of Western medicines are originated from the Amazon, and almost 3,000 Amazonian plant species have been recognized to have anticancer properties (Ferland). Logging “tropical hardwoods like teak, mahogany, rosewood, and other timber for furniture, building materials, charcoal, and other wood products” is creating a big problem of fewer wood resources. The deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest is destroying the chances for humans to get access...
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