Rainforest Deforestation Essay, Research Paper
RETELL: BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE AMAZON RAINFOREST AND OTHER RAINFORESTS
The Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest tropical rainforest. It covers approximately 2 million square miles in the Amazon River Basin of South America (Lyman 1998, 61) About two-thirds of the rainforest lies in Brazil. The forest also covers parts of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, and Venezuela (Lyman 1998, 32) In the Amazon rainforest it contains a wider variety of plants and animal life than any other place in the world. It supports millions of plant, animal and insect species it is a virtual library of chemical invention.
Deforestation is a vital issue that is playing a great role all around the world today. Deforestation robs the world of countless species, destroying crucial biodiversity and losing species with potential uses in medicine, agriculture, and industry. Over half of the world’s tropical rainforest is being destroyed, most of which are in Brazil, and they are continuing to be destroyed today (Silver 1998,11). The topic of rainforest destruction raises the thought of biodiversity and cures for cancer, both of these thoughts are very important reasons to end deforestation but it has not yet come to and end. Global climate and the greenhouse effect both have an impact on the atmosphere and as well as the biosphere. Due the rainforest it has found drugs for quinine, muscle relaxants, steroids and cancer drugs (Hadden 1995, 27).
Tropical forest are destroyed for several reasons, there is an increasing demand for both farm and grazing land which results in burning and clearing of the rainforest for agriculture production. Unbelievably over 200,000 acres of rainforest is burned every day in the world ( Silver 1998, 29). Another reason of deforestation is the continued urbanization of the world and the need for construction of roads and industrialization. The need for fuel and timber for construction is another major factor leading to the destruction of the rainforest (Hadden 1995,45).
Deforestation has serious effects on the planet. These effects have negative consequences on the Earth’s biosphere, the biodiversity of the planet, and greatly threatened the physical survival of people who heavily rely on the forest. Effects of deforestation are too great to continue destroying the forest. Deforestation by burning lets out carbon dioxide, which accounts for at least half of the greenhouse effect, in which atmospheric gases, mostly produced by human activities, trap the sun’s heat, slowly warming the Earth. At least three-quarters of deforestation in the tropics are due to burning, which release about 2.4 billion tones of CO 2 into the atmosphere each year
( Lyman 1998, 16). The greenhouse effect will have several affects on the Earth. One problem is that it will cause a rise in sea levels due to the melting of glaciers. This could cause frequent flooding. Also greenhouse gases can also have an affect on climate change which can also affect the future agriculture (Silver 1998, 32). Also some studies have showed that there may be a decrease in rainfall and an increase in surface temperature. In the rainforest the trees protect the soil against erosion and reduce the risks of landslides and avalanches. Soil erosion then leads to greater amounts of run off and increases sedimentation in the rivers and streams. Besides, protecting the soil from erosion, the trees create a canopy that regulates how much rainfall and sunlight reaches the rainforests floor (Hadden 1995,22). When trees are cleared high sunlight and heavy rainfall quickly damages the topsoil.
Tragically, rainforests once covered 14% of the earth’s land surface. Now they cover 6%. In less than 50 years, more than half of the world’s rainforest has been burnt down with fire and cut down with chain saws (Silver 1998, 44). Experts claim that the current rate of destruction, the last remaining forests could be consumed in less than 40 years. Experts also claim that they are losing approximately 130 species of plants, animals and insects every single day as they become extinct from the loss of rainforest land and habitats. How many possible cures to devastating diseases have we already lost?
This project has made me realize the true value of how important our rainforest and any other forest is to our planet. I have learned a great amount of knowledge from all the researching that I have done. To prove how much I really care about the rainforest I have put forward my time and effort to take action to save the rainforest and the destruction of plants, animals and insect species. The following is a brief description of the seven actions I have already started to take action, or am planning to do to make a difference.
1. The first action that I have taken is to use less paper. Most paper comes from trees, so I think using less paper will help save the rainforest. I am going to try to use recyclable paper whenever I can or tree-free paper. Tree free paper is made out of other substances besides trees. I don?t usually write on both sides of the paper so I have started to write not only on one side of the page but on both sides. And for printing things off the computer I have started to use scrap paper if I am going to print a lot of pages. Also when I pack my brothers lunch I have started to pack his lunch in a lunch box rather than in a paper bag. I have started to also use cloth napkins at home instead of paper napkins. And when I do use paper napkins or towels I make sure I rip the paper in half if I am not going to use the whole paper.
2. The second action that I have taken is using less gasoline and plastics. A lot of oil comes from the rainforest through extraction. Gasoline and plastic is made from petroleum. Oil extraction is very harmful to the rainforest. I have started to car pool and I have also started to walk instead of taking the car if I am travelling a short distance. I have also reduced the amount of plastic items bought. I try and buy glass items that can be reusable. Instead of throwing the plastic water bottles I buy I have started to wash them out and reusing them.
3. Many rainforests are being destroyed for its red meat (beef). So I have cut back on eating red meat, which was not a big problem because I don?t eat red meat a lot. Rainforests are burned down to make clear land. The land is used for the cows and grass pastures are made. The beef that is used in fast food restaurants and frozen meat, and pet food is for every quarter-pound fast-food hamburgers come from the rainforest. For one-hamburger 55 square feet of rainforest is destroyed. I don?t have a cat or dog but it helps to not buy beef products for your pets to help save the rainforest.
4. I plan to do a small fundraiser to raise money to help protect the rainforest. I am going to ask a combination of ten friends and family members or who ever wants to donate a amount of $10. Ten people who donate $10 that?s $100 I have raised. The money I collect will go to the Rainforest Action Network’s Protect-An-Acre program. The money that is donated to this organization goes to the native people that live in the rainforest so that they can protect the land they live on.
5. The rainforest is a very important place. It does not matter where you live it affect all of us. That is why I have started to educate my family and friends about the small things that we can do to save the rainforest. I have told my family all the things I have learned and I hope they will start to take action because everyone counts and if everyone try’s then we can make a difference.
6. When I was on the internet I came across a web site where you can donate land for free by clicking on one of the 9 banners that were paid for by A Taste Of Europe, Skin Care, The Sharper Image and many other companies. By going to this site and clicking on the button you donate 14.4 square feet of rainforest that is paid for the companies mentioned above. The site is called The Rainforest Site.
7. The last action that I took was to write a letter to Boise Cascade. Boise Cascade is the largest logger of old growth forest in the U.S. and also sells wood from endangered forest around the world. Many other companies like Home Depot and Centex Homes have agreed to stop selling or using wood that comes from old growth forest, but Boise Cascade has not made that promise. Letters were to be sent by December 10th 2000 to Ran-Children’s Holiday Wish. To see copy of letter see next page.
I hope that all of these actions can make a difference and I hope by educating others about the rainforest the destruction will come to an end!