Rainforest deforestation Essay

This essay has a total of 1542 words and 7 pages.

Rainforest deforestation


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

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?

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