Deforestation the Modern Plague
The Amazon it is in danger, and no, it is not the Amazon that people like to visit through their mobile devices on a lonely night at midnight to purchase unnecessary products, it is being referred to the Amazonian Rainforest with an area of 2,300,000 square miles, that covers 40% of Brazil, and gives to huge variety of flora and fauna. Humans are wasting no time in cutting down this rich and diverse biological reservoir in a process called deforestation. Deforestation, according to the Merriam-Webster, goes with the definition of “the action or process of clearing of forests.” (Merriam-Webster) The average rate of deforestation in the Amazonas is about 15 million acres per year and this situation is nothing new, it has been happening since the early 1990s. Contrary to the ignorant points of view that abound the internet about this topic, deforestation needs to stop, for the benefit of this earth and the people that populate it and for the future generations. The Amazon has a long history of human settlement, but in recent years there has been a huge increasement in the deforestation of the rainforest due to the introduction of mechanized agriculture, and integration of the Amazon region into the global economy.
The Amazon alone stores around 10% of unknown species on Earth. About 75% of plants are unique to this region and there are 3000 species of freshwater fish. Today this biodiverse region is in extreme danger, about 20% of it has been already eliminated. If the deforestation rates continue the way they are going there would be no trees left in this region by 2030, and that’s why there is a sense of urgency in stopping it from happening. Thanks to multiple organizations such as Green Peace and World Wide Fund, the biggest leading organization for the conservation of wildlife and species in danger, the rates of deforestation have gone down in the past decade but still, continue at an alarming rate. (WWF) Researchers have found that the Amazon produces 9300m3 of water per year. In an ideal non-disturbed ecosystem this would mean that the Amazon has the ability to recycle the same water through a process called evapotranspiration. To remove part of this ecosystem in this case, a big part of the plants and trees, it would mean that the conditions are not ideal and have been disturbed opening the door to drought and bringing unfavorable consequences to the earth. Deforestations also encourages global warming, yes, it is a thing, which is already affecting various parts of the world. Thanks to this we are removing water from its natural circle of life and water goes to food and livestock production. (Nazareno, Alison G., and William F. Laurance)
How it works
A single season where the Amazon where to be on full drought it can “reduce the forests carbon dioxide absorption for years after the rains return” said a research team from NASA. (NASA) Deforestation brings jobs to those who don’t have any other way of income. This job brings financial stability for all its workers and their families on a regular basis. When a certain part of the forests been done, the same workers can live here and establish a farm or use the land to their liking to keep the income flowing allowing industrial growth and of course making more space for the community to grow. Regardless of the growth that may offer to the community, it is a short-term gain. These sources of income could go away at any moment. As soon as the entire rainforest has been taken care of there would be nowhere else to go and the jobs and all the profits will go away too, the industries planted here would go broke because they will most likely be related to the deforestation sector. And since there will be no additional trees being planted all the livestock and farms will no longer be as profitable as a living. (Green Garage) A decade after the “Save the Rainforest” movement made drastic changes that slowed deforestation across the Amazon, the activity didn’t seize at all. The “comeback” of this so controversial problem is driven of course by the agriculture department.
The fight is back too, because now more than ever, its necessary to keep this forest in good conditions. Deforestation increase in major numbers in 2015 for the first time in a decade, to nearly two million acres from August 2015 to July 2016. That increase “from about 1.5 million acres a year earlier and just over 1.2 million acres the year before that, according to estimates by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research”. (NY Times) We cannot afford to lose the biodiversity that an area like the Amazons provide. The wildlife in this forest is in critical conditions, while the forest is being cut down it is very difficult to see what is happening in the inside. These forests are home to numerous species and when their homes are being taken down, they are forced to move into not-so-favorable areas that of course are not suitable for them. Such drastic change causes the extinction of all the species forced to move out of their homes. An example would be the “white-cheeked spider monkeys, which feed on fruits high in the forest canopy, are endangered largely because of the expansion of farmland and road building.” (The Guardian) Plants and trees play a crucial role in keeping the planet in good conditions to be habitable.
Photosynthesis takes place in these plants and trees. The plant takes water through the roots, carbon dioxide from the air, and light from the Sun and transforms it into glucose and oxygen. Thanks to photosynthesis the carbon dioxide gases are filtered through the plant and converted into oxygen which, as you may know, humans need for survival. That being said, if all the plants and trees are cut down, photosynthesis would not happen, leaving all the carbon dioxide gases out floating creating more and more damage to the ozone layer and therefore not producing oxygen for humans to breath. Trees and plants play a vital role in absorbing water through their roots and disperse it back to the atmosphere through evapotranspiration. Logically, without all the plants and trees the water would not be completely absorbed and there would be nothing there to balance it creating flooding in some regions and living the land and not food conditions for planting crops or more trees. We all know that trees and plants play a vital role in absorbing excess groundwater by sucking the extra moisture up through their roots and disperse it back into the atmosphere. Erosion is another problem caused by the huge quantities of deforestation. Rains wash away nutrients left in the soil and with that decreasing biodiversity and species richness. The continuous increase of deforestation also increases the expansion of wetlands and floodplains. (Maritime Theater) To stop the deforestation problem there has been different strategies.
Standing with the indigenous people that populate the zone and of course are against deforestation it is one of them. For example, the Munduruku people of the Amazon are battling a proposed mega damn that threatens their land and their lifestyle. These people have bravely fought against the government’s plans to destroy the Tapaj??s River to build dams around it. If it were to be built, it would devastate the rich biodiversity in the area and it is an are rich in endemic species, and that could a hundred percent change the lives of the people that reside here. To make a difference for the people that reside this area and to protect all the species that live here as well, the government needs to its part. Corruption needs to go out the window since it’s the major fuel for organized crime and armed conflict. Global treaties would be also a good way to stop this. Creating laws that protect the rainforest and all of the species that reside in them. Also providing sustainable alternatives is necessary. Recycling is so important for people to get educated on and not just a topic that is touched in elementary school. Recycling is immensely necessary not only for the benefit of rainforests but also but the benefit of the earth all around.