Explain Why Rainforests Are Fragile Ecosystems Under Threat

Topics: Forest, Tropical rainforest, Amazon Rainforest Pages: 2 (1119 words) Published: April 24, 2015
Explain why Rainforests are fragile ecosystems under threat Human beings are the biggest threat to the rainforest ecosystems due to the exploitative nature of our industrial society. As the NIC’s with rainforests in have begun to develop they found the economic value of the rainforests for many international markets as well as internal infrastructure; the resources available are priceless. Logging companies are granted forestry rights, usually cheaply, to harvest timber to sell abroad for furniture, houses and paper. The economic value of this income is invaluable to an industrialising country, as it is usually needed to pay off interest on debts from irresponsible lending in the 1970’s. Electrical power can be created by burning wood, thus large tracts of forests are destroyed to feed a growing demand for power by industry and people. To solve this power problem there have been many hydroelectric dams built to harvest the Amazon rivers power, for example the Tucurui hydroelectric dam built on the Tocantins River used to power the Carajas mine in Brazil. There are also many agricultural strains on the rainforest, agribusinesses are set up to export food – the largest of which is cattle ranching for its value. Traditionally, subsistence farming involves cutting a hectare of forest then burning the undergrowth to allow nutrients into the soil, this clearing is called a ‘chagra’. Then they move onto a new patch when the nutrients are used which allows the rainforest to replenish in around 60 to 70 years. This farming is sustainable for a small local population, however the soil is eroded by monsoons, it is incredibly inefficient and the fires can spread to the rest of the forest if not properly contained. The ranches are very different from traditional ‘slash and burn’ farming as there is no time given for the land to recover and very little rotation which can lead to farmland becoming barren. There is a similar story with the soya production agribusiness in the...
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