Reforestation Essay, Research Paper
During the past several decades, changes in the global climatic pattern have become evident and have attracted much attention from both the lay public and the professional environmental organizations. Deforestation is one of the main reasons for these observed changes. One of the reason that is causing the disappearing of the Amazon rainforest is commercial logging, which is the single largest problem. Other problems that also contribute to the disappearing of the Amazon forests include: road construction, cattle ranching, and pulp mill are all-important factors to be considered. The Amazons rainforest is the world’s largest rain forest existing today, which represents 54 percent of the total rainforests left on the planet. If Amazonia was a country, it would be the ninth largest country in the world. The Amazon is very important to the human race because it is a major contributor to the maintenance of global climatic patterns. Consider these points: A single pond in Brazil can contain more variety of fish than are found in all of Europe’s rivers. A twenty-five acre of rainforest in Borneo may contain over seven hundred species of trees, which is the number equal to the entire number of trees in North America; the single rainforest in Peru had more bird species than the entire United States. Most unbelievable fact is that one single tree in Peru had forty-three different species of ants, which is the approximate total of entire ant species in the British Isles. The Amazon rainforest is of great significance to the rest of the world. For decades, the Amazon suffered from continual deforestation. It is estimated that, as of 1997, 52 million ha of Amazon rainforest has been cut down. According to scientific estimation, if such rate of destruction in Amazon is not controlled, nearly 80 to 90 percent of tropical rainforest ecosystems will be destroyed by the year 2020 (Taylor Leslie, Herbal Secrets of the Rainforest. Prima Publishing, Rocklin, CA). In less than 50 years, more than half of the world’s tropical rainforest will be cut down for industrial uses. The rate of the destruction of rainforest is increasing, especially after the year 1997. As Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, head of its forest program ” 1997 will be remembered as the year the world caught fire.” Unbelievably, over 200,000 acres of rainforest is been cut or burned each day. This means that over 150 acres is disappearing in every minute. Can the industries afford to stop the logging in the Amazon rainforest due to the necessity in economics? While it is generally recognized that reforestation programs in the Amazon region are essential to the global climate, economic problems are preventing or delaying the initiation of these programs. Cattle ranching are the primary reason for deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. When the demand in Western world for meat increases, more rainforest lands are been destroyed and turn into farmland for animals. There are estimated 220 million of cattle, 20 million goats, 60 million pigs and 700 million chickens, just in the South America alone to meet world’s demand. The cattle ranching program is continue to move southward into the center of the South American Rainforest. Large acres of lands in the Amazon rainforest are been cut and burn then seed it with grass for cattle and other farm pets to eat. The cattle ranching in the Amazon rainforest had caused a total of 500,000 acres of rainforest. There have been attempts to ban or prohibit the cutting down of forests for cattle ranching. These lands are been burnt down and replant with grasses for farm animals. The rainforest is destroyed for the income and profits it contents. People like Chico Mendes, born in 1944 and became an educated rubber tapper at age 9, attempts to stop the forest been cut down for cattle ranching. But people who are poor have difficulty winning legal battle for their land against the wealthy land speculators and ranchers. Chico knew that he had to protect the rainforest for the future for the rubber tappers. To protect the rainforest one must understand how to use the natural resource in Amazon forest without abusing it. Later on, Chico had organized the tappers into a group, and together they go and try to confront the cattle ranchers that the protection of the rainforest is needed, otherwise the forest will devastated very soon. He had gained international support for his hard work on environmental protection. Later on, Chico Mendes was assassinated just after the Brazilian government established the first extractive reserve. Chico Mendes was an environment protection hero, whom had influenced many Brazilian in Amazon to stand up for them and to preserve the forest from destroying. As of 1991, Brazil’s national debt was well over US$130 billion, the highest national debt of any developing nation. (Financial Post, Weekly edition, Tue 16 Jul 91, page 10. Editorial.) Another statistic shows that between December 1989 and December 1995 there had a total increase by 38.15%. During that time, US$159.005 billion is the foreign debt. As a result of this economic problem, the government can’t stop the cattle ranching program because they must pay back their own debts. Not only does the cattle ranching in Amazon rainforest contributes to the destruction of the rainforest, but also the commercial logging within South America. While logging is another main reason of devastation of the Amazon forest as much as cattle ranching, it contributes to deforestation to great extent. Commercial logging is one of the most important caused of the deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Many companies and industries just see tree as their unlimited natural resources cut and process them to make profits; these corporations never care about the disappearing of the forest. Everyone must understand that once the rainforest is gone, it is gone. There are no methods in the present technology that can bring back the rainforest like the original. Logging in the tropical hardwoods like teak, mahogany, rosewood and other timber for the use of paper, furniture, building materials, charcoal and other wood products is a big business in the present world. These businesses rely on tree logging to maintain their economical status and to make enormous profits. Some of these logs are not used wisely and efficient, such as, several kinds of hardwoods are imported to developed countries just for the use of making coffins, which they eventually burned in flame. Logging in the Amazon rainforest is a large economic source in Brazil and it is needed for them to pay back their debts, but there is a problem. The Brazil government is selling their assets too cheap, and when the rainforest is gone, their main source of income is gone. The logs are sold in the Amazon rainforest for as little as $2 per acre, which they fail to realize the logs worth thousands of dollars per acre.
There is a Japanese power plant and pulp mill to master production of papers. In order for this plant to operate, this project needs 5,600 square miles of Amazon Rainforest. The industry burns down all the trees within the given area and replanted with pulpwood trees. This single plant will consumes 2,000 tons of trees in the rainforest wood every day to produce 55 megawatts of electricity to run the pulp plant. This industry has been running since 1978, and it is producing over 750 tons of pulp for paper every 24 hours. The industry had built 2,800 miles of roads through the Amazon rainforest to be used by its 700 vehicles. The Aracruz in Brazil is the world biggest pulp mill; it will produce one million tons of pulp a year. The largest markets for the Aracruz are the United States, Belgium, Great Britain, and Japan. More and more rainforest are cut down because of the demand of the present world. It’s will need 200 million tons of woods each year just to produce papers. This means, 4 billion tons of woods will be consumed by the year 2020. As one can see, the destruction in the Brazilian Rainforest is unimaginable. The Amazon rainforest is under serious logging destruction. However, the Brazilian government had implemented programs that will help reducing the companies from logging illegally within the Amazon region. During the environment plans Brazilian government did achieve the purpose of these programs. One of the success stores from preventing the deforestation is, Brazilian state put a hold on investment projects which the logging company had harvested millions and billions of dollars from logging. In particular, one of the Asian logging companies in Brazil’s Amazon region has conflict with the Brazilian government because of forest cutting. During last year, a report is issued about the destruction from these companies. The Brazilian government had notice that the destruction rate of the Amazon rainforest had reached a record high. Many of the companies were fined $1 million for illegal logging last year. Currently, the Asian logging company is now cutting trees in the Amazon with such fast speed that the government estimated that if the Asian logging company continued cutting trees in the currently rate, the Amazon rainforest will be totally destroyed within a decade. The Brazilian government had put this Asian logging factory on hold because of illegal logging and refusing the pay fines. The Brazilian government has devised various anti-logging policies to protect the endangered environment of the Amazon rainforest. It is really difficult to keep protecting the natural resources while at the same time offer an economic growth for poor regions. There are now three places that are currently under the Brazilian government protection. The Atlantic rainforest is one of the most endangered ecosystems in Brazil. Now, only 4 to 7 percent of the Atlantic rainforest remain, due the destruction of human settlement and agriculture. The government has approved the policy that the remaining forest will be protected and stay untouched. The Southern inland forest covers a larger area than the Altantic rainforest. Within the southern forest landowner are required to put 20 percent of their land undeveloped. Another area that is also under the government control is the Amazon region, which is the largest area in Brazil. The government’s policy allows the privately owned industries or company to have 50 percent of the land for development. However, the Brazilian government also limits a maximum of 20 percent within the 50 percent to be clear-cut. The ant-logging campaigns are more successful than the anti-ranching programs. However, because of weak national economic status, these environmental-friendly polices still face widespread protests from owners of wood products businesses. These protests have certainly delayed the expansion of the reforestation efforts. Both the Brazilian public and the Brazilian government are fully aware of the necessity to devise policies and strategies to save the Amazon from continual deforestation. However, the economics in Brazil are being intimately related to the ranching, logging, and pulp mill business which, prevents or delaying the Brazilians from taking the necessary actions.