Rainforest Destruction Essay, Research Paper
name = Shiv Sudan
email = email@example.com
publish = yes
subject = Science
title = Rainforest Destruction
papers = Introduction
With the increase of rainforest destruction that is taking place, it could take ten years for the rainforests to be destroyed for good. If we don’t restrain or take action towards the destruction there is no telling what will happen to the world. Most scientists have predicted that at the rate that we are going at there will be no rainforests left by the year 2050. Long ago, rainforest were capable of reviving themselves until World War Two, because of technological improvements, allowing people to travel and work faster. People were able to destroy the rainforest at an unprecedented pace. In addition the worlds decisions were made purely on economic grounds, and did not look at the long term affects. There are three main threaths to the rainforest: agriculture, international logging and fuelwood collection.
Agricultural practices take place in many different forms: migrant peasant cultivation, large-scale corporate farming, clandestine narcotics production, or animal husbandry related to cattle. All these forms of agriculture practice in the moist and wet tropics which usually calls for a destructive course. Agriculture is one of the rainforest’s main threats since it accounts for a large amount of the distraction. Cattle ranching is the main factor in the deforestation for agriculture. Cattle ranching was the major cause of destruction in Brazil accounting for seventy two percent of Brazil’s deforestation up to the year 1980. Cattle ranching was also one of major causes of deforestation in Costa Rica and many other amazon countries. Road construction accounted for twenty seven percent of Brazil’s deforestation between 1966 to 1975 which all fall under the agriculture category.
Under the category of international logging you would find, tropical timber extraction. The companies which deal with timber extraction have a major effect on the volubility of the remaining areas of the rainforest, but the impact does not stop there. After the loggers leave, slash-and-burn cultivators move into areas of the forest by the logging roads. Agriculture and the logging industry are very close together, since agricultural farmers move into the previous logging territories after the loggers leave.
Fuelwood collection is used world wide as a source of heat and energy. It is of major importance as a forest product which, over two billion people depend on daily. Consuming eighty five percent of third world countrie’s wood production. Of the two billion people, ninety six million are unable to satisfy their minimum needs. As a result they try to ration the fuelwood that they have by only cooking once a day, and by eating raw foods.
The world is destroying the rainforest faster then it can grow. It takes millions of years for the rainforests to grow and only days to destroy. Further on in the project you will see the rainforest’s main threats: agriculture, international logging and fuelwood collection are talked about in more depth.
Tropical timber extraction by international companies have had a profound impact on the viability of the remaining areas of the rain forests. Yet, the impact does not stop there because after the loggers leave, the slash-and-burn cultivators come into the areas on the logging roads. The agriculturists and the logging industry are very close to each other. A ratio shows, for every 177 cubic feet of logs removed by exploiters of timber, 2.47 acres are cut and torched by the slash-and-burn cultivators.
The logging industry could have a longer and more profitable life if it adjusted its consumption to regenerate cycles instead of concentrating on the race it currently runs with competing companies around the world. With the logging companies 10.9 million acres of clod broad-level tropical forests are logged annually, while an additional 18.5 million acres are cleared for other purposes, generally agriculture. An estimation of 45 percent of this reduction, or 8.4 million acres, can be assigned to directly to shifting cultivation, the balance to other population burdens. The combination causes 29.4 million acres of forest modified. With all the outcries deforestation of the tropics will not decrease, but will increase. An example is, Brazil’s rate will increase by 33 percent annually.
Regulations laid down by tropical countries on overacting and the taking of undersize trees go un-enforced. Realistically speaking the industries major concerns are profit and uncertainties over ever-changing political conditions in the countries in which the investments lie. Indonesia serves as a typical example of a country in which the logging industry’s environmentally unfavorable flexing of its political muscle. With the use of proper cyclic methods, forests should regenerate within 30 years. The Indonesian government requires logging corporations to follow a 35 year cutting cycle, yet it grants them a 20 year lease. Most of Indonesia’s accessible forests are already appointed to multinational timber corporations. Within nine years Indonesia is expected to be completely overact.
Recent FAO figures have indicated that the gap between deforestation and reforestation. By the end of 1980, only 28.4 million acres are planted. Yet, 29.4 million acres of virgin closed tropical broad – leveled forests are removed annually, which works out to be a 1:10 ratio away from keeping pace with deforestation; in a naturally globally forested forest for every 10 trees removed only 1 is replaced. Ratios vary from coast to coast. For example, Africa has a ratio of 1:29 and India’s loss of tree covers 3.3 million acres annually.
Fuelwood collection is the third major factor in rainforest destruction. It accounts for fuelwood used for heat and energy (i.e. firewood). Fuelwood collection is used world wide as sources of heat and energy, which is of major importance as a forest product. More then two billion people depend on firewood on a daily bases. Firewood accounts for eighty five percent of third world countries wood production. Of the two billion people, ninety six million are unable to satisfy their minimum needs and as a result try to ration what they have by only cooking once a day and by eating raw foods. An additional 1,052 million people are in a deficit situation. On average each person in a developing country consumes 16 cubic feet of wood a year, which roughly equals to the amount of paper consumed by First World residents.
If you were to take India as an example, where 50 million tons of firewood is harvested yearly. The market value alone far exceeds the recorded value of the country’s entire forestry sector. Brazil’s yearly Fuelwood consumption is equal to $3 billion dollars in foreign exchange.
According to the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, D.C., reports that many of the world’s developing nations will face a wood famine since they export more wood then they can afford to export. Right now developing countries have a need for wood yet it is not available since it is being sold in an international market for a higher price then it could be sold in the home country. There is currently a 14,126 million cubic feet deficit of Fuelwood. The FAO predicts that by the year 2000, 2,400 million people will be involved in the wood famine with a 33,900-million-cubic-feet-deficiency.
Agricultural practices take place in many different forms: migrant peasant cultivation, large-scale corporate farming, clandestine narcotics production, or animal husbandry related to cattle. All these forms of agriculture practice in the moist and wet tropics which usually call for a destructive course. Logging activities create enormous roads leading into virgin forests, and which give access to migrant agriculturists and livestock operations who quickly invade the virgin forests.
The impact of “slash-and-burn” procedure causes the most destruction of the rainforest since it kills all living plants and animals living in the area. The “slash-and-burn” impact is a procedure that they use to clear land for farms. Before a farm is built in the moist tropics, it is felled and burned in preparation for planting. Since the nutrients of the plants burned into ashes this causes the remains to be enriched soils, so the farmers sow their seeds in the enriched soils. Without the protective layer of the tree cover, the tropical rain fall onto the bare soil, and the existing nutrients are flushed away into rivers and out to sea. This allows farmers to grow two or three crops at most before having to move to another plot, leaving the land that they destroyed useless.
Every year over 8.4 million acres of closed tropical forests are felled. The cut-over forests resulting form shifting in recent times cover an area equivalent to 28.5% of the remaining tropical rainforests of Africa, 16% of the rainforests in Latin America and 22.7% of the remaining rainforests in Asian forests. Since slash-and burn cultivators could not get to the forests without the loggers, their contribution to the deforestation are traditionally coupled giving it a total of 19.3
The contribution of illicit drugs also contribute towards tropical deforestation in the past years has largely escaped analysis. Yet, with NASA’s recent findings, based on aerial photography, show highly visible coca growing on the extensive scale in Columbia. Removal of forests to make way for coca crops, which is used to make cocaine paste, followed by processing to cocaine powder, which is then exported. It is said that cocaine has outnumbered Columbia’s coffee industry. The coffee industry exports $1.5 billion dollars a year and the cocaine industry exports $4.0 billion dollar worth of cocaine within that same year. An estimation of six hundred and seventy hundred thousand acres of the Peruvian Haulage Valley alone are under its cultivation. In the Peruvian Amazon an estimated 1.8 million acres of rainforests are deforested for areas dominated by narcotics traffickers and terrorist. This accounts for 10% of total deforestation in Peru within the past decade, yet with the increase of the demand for c
ocaine the amount of deforestation will increase.
Cattle farming is a major cause for deforestation. An increasing demand for inexpensive beef for humans convenience foods and pet food in North America, has had a direct effect on tropical forests by resulting in their conversion to short-life pastures. The forests are clear-cut and seeded with aggressive grasses. Tropical pastures have a short life and new areas must be constantly enriched on. This continuing process results in a rate of deforestation third in direct impact after logging and shifting cultivation. A large portion of these commercial enterprises are owned by corporations outside of the countries with tropical rainforest. One of the largest of such holdings is a 540-square-mile concession in eastern Arizona. When this forest was put to fire it created the biggest fire ever deliberately made by man. Cattle farming was the cause for 72% of Brazil’s deforestation up to the year 1980, and is now the major cause of forest clearance in Costa Rica and many other Amazon countries.
Road destruction accounted for 27 percent of Brazil’s deforestation. By 1971, the international lending institutions contributed $3.5 billion dollars towards road construction and the USAID (United States Agency for International Development) contributed $4 billion for beef-production expansions. The beef that is produced in the rainforest countries is almost exclusively for export, since a very minimal amount of beef is consumed. An example of the consuming amount in Brazil compared to the U.S would be that, a Brazilian will consume at the most 35 pounds of beef annually, compared to the U.S where a well pampered cat would eat more then 35 pounds annually. If you were to look at the statistics it would show that for every ? pounder 67 square feet of forests are destroyed, and in the 67 square feet it would contain roughly 800,000 pounds of plant and animal material – a lot of the species as yet unknown to scientists.
Paper Production and Other Factors
From 1950 to 1976 the world’s paper consumption alone increased from 40 to 160 million tons, a rise more than double that of population growth. This figure is expected to increase to 400 million tons by the year 2000 and to double again twenty years later. Of the current total, over 87 percent is being consumed by developed nations.
In a reality, each American citizen thrpws away enough paper to equal three whole conifer trees yearly. Yet, this only represents the amount of paper wasted, not the amount consumed, meaning that approximatly one billion trees are are being wasted each year by the U.S. alone. In developing nations, the average person uses only 11 pounds of each year, but on average most use less then 2.2 pounds, equivelant to one half of the Sunday edition of the New York Times.
Mineral extraction from forests lands is often accompanied by circumstances that produce much more damge than the mining process itself. An example would be the exploitation of a large deposits iron-ore, copper, manganese, bauxite and nickel. While iron-oe has had a very little effect on the forest since it began production in 1985, a large problem looms in the form of charcoal-powered smelters which convert the ore into pig iorn. With the most expedient source of charcoal surrounding the forrest, cause the distruction of the surrounding forests.