Environment Concerns: Conflicts in the Rainforest

Topics: Amazon Rainforest, Deforestation, Rainforest Pages: 6 (2280 words) Published: April 13, 2013
Every second, 1.5 acres of trees are cut down in a rainforest. That’s equivalent to two football pitches per second. At this rate, the Amazon rainforest will become devoid of life by 2030. Cutting down trees not only damages large habitual areas of the estimated 30 million people who live in the rainforest along with the animals they solely depend on, but affects the environment in many harmful ways. This can be through rapid and violent changes in the climate, an unbalanced ratio of carbon dioxide to oxygen impacting hugely on global warming, damage to the biodiversity of animals and tribes and fatal effects to the soil. Trees that are cut down can be used for a variety of different common purposes including rubber, oil, wax, glue and, more importantly, fuel. However, the list does not stop there. Trees are cut down to gain access to medicinal plants and create vast spaces to mine important ores. Yet possibly the biggest reason trees are cut down is to grow food. Commercial farmers need more land space to cultivate crops to feed our ever growing population as well as local farmers providing food for their family. At the moment, subsistence farming is responsible for 48% of deforestation, farming used for our personal use makes up 32% of deforestation, logging makes up 14% of deforestation and wood used for fuel makes up 5% of deforestation. The rest of deforestation is taken up by illegal logging and fuel use. Subsistence farming consists of local farmers cultivating the land for their own personal use. This way of living has dramatically increased in the past 100 years, mainly in rural parts of Africa and large areas of Asia and South America. This form of farming, although it seems enticing as home grown produce is usually delicious, comes at a high price. As subsistence farming is generally used by people of the rainforest, Papua New Guinea and African rainforests, trees are necessary to be cut down to clear an area of land of fertile soil. Subsistence farming therefore is a huge factor in terms of deforestation and forms the bulk of the amount of trees cut down. The dilemma blooms when trying to control this type of farming as obviously, we do not want to ruin people’s lives and food source but we also want to live in a world where we can ensure we will be able to stabilise the earth’s natural habitat. A solution will be mentioned later on. Commercial farming is farming for us. The population of earth, excluding the 30 million people in the rainforest, amounts to 6.97 billion people to feed. Today, we get maize, tea, coffee, sugar cane, cashew, rubber, banana, cotton, livestock meat and palm oil all from the rainforest. Although some of this produce may look unfamiliar, it is in fact very common in most food and many other everyday items. Maize (more widely known as corn) is used in nearly every Mexican dish, forms of medicine, chemicals (used in the making of plastics and adhesives), bio-fuel and production of starch and oil. A small list of uses for one of the thousands of products we receive from the rainforest. Sugar is used in nearly every product we eat. This means that humans are continuously wanting sugar because mass food chains are providing us food with sugar. Although I may have drifted off from rainforest deforestation, the problem still stands that, as humans want more sugar, the demand for sugar increases linking to another cause for deforestation. The next major cause for deforestation is logging. Logging means clearing vast spaces or cutting down trees to cut up as logs to be used for all sorts of different purposes including construction of homes and other buildings, furniture, paper, pencils, wood-chips for packaging products, fuel for cooking and providing heat for homes. Again, the issue of a rising population takes centre stage and the demand for all these items dramatically rises as our population increases. Logging, however, has a dark side in the form of illegal logging. This also takes up...
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