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Deforestation in the Amazon Rain Forest - Research Paper Example

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Deforestation in Amazon Rain Forest Introduction The Amazon Rainforest is the largest remaining rainforest on this planet. It is the home of over 20 million indigenous people, most of who have not been contacted by the outside world, and it provides shelter to thousands of different animal species, most of which are still unknown to the world (Rice, p…
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Download file to see previous pages The majority of the rainforest, just over 60 percent, is within Brazil, and the rest of the rainforest falls within the territory of countries such as Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and others (Senna, Costa, & Pires, p. 14). Rainforests once covered over 14 percent of the earth’s surface; however, the same percentage has now decreased to almost 6 percent and the most significant chunk of this deforestation has taken place in the biggest rain forest of Amazon. The deforestation of Amazon Rainforest is perhaps, the most significant concern for green movements, environmental activists, experts, governments, NGOs and various other stakeholders. Human activity and demand in the region has already destroyed a significant portion of rainforest and caused immeasurable damage to the animal species, ecosystem, and the current and future human generations (Rice, p. 25). This paper is an attempt to explore the dynamics of deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest and most importantly, its impact on the soil with respect to soil degradation, soil erosion, and soil leaching. Discussion Prior to the second half of the 20th century, the access to the interior of the rainforest was highly restricted and in the absence of roads, railways and others forms of communication, it was almost irrational to conduct mass deforestation of the Amazon for any purposes (Marshall & Watson, p. 327). The costs of transportation were so high that people did not see deforestation as a profitable venture. However, during the 1960s, many farmers initiated deforestation with the slash and burn method for agricultural purposes. With the creation of roads and railways for transportation and the increasing demand for natural resources, deforestation of the Amazon began at massive rates. The rise on population and the aspirations to become a modern economy further increased the demand for wood and wood products and thus, year after year, rates of deforestation kept increasing. For many years, deforestation within Brazil did not catch the attention of the policymakers of the country as a significant environmental issue because they had evidence to believe that there is a strong link between deforestation and economic growth within the country (Senna, Costa & Pires, p. 14). During the period of 1988-1991, the figures revealed a strong correlation between the slowing down of the economic growth and the decline in the deforestation of the Amazon forest. This correlation was validated by the figures of the period of 1993-1998, when the boom in the economic growth appeared to parallel the increase in deforestation activity of Amazon. Many experts even started claiming this link is not merely a correlation but causation. More importantly, it is a unidirectional causation where deforestation activity within Brazil is causing economic growth and; therefore, it was indispensable (Gabler, Petersen, & Trapasso, p. 89). However, by the mid 2000s, it became apparent to the policymakers and the public that the link between deforestation and economic growth is not a significant one. Since then, there has been a significant decline in the deforestation of Amazon. In fact, the rate of deforestation of Amazon in the year 2011 was the lowest during the past couple of decades. Experts believe that many factors have caused this decline. First, during ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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