Conservation of the Amazon Rain ForestsThe rainforests are essential for life on earth, and destroying them could result in an ecological imbalance and the loss of many valuable resources; therefore measures must be established to protect the worlds rainforests. The rainforests are a major factor in the stability of the environment, especially in the greenhouse effect and the help to fight pollution.
The Amazon Rain forest is the largest tropical rain forest of the world. It covers about 2 million square miles and about two-thirds of the forest is in Brazil.
The rain forest lies in parts of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, and Venezuela. The rainforest receives about 50 to 175 inches and the average temperature is about 80 degrees. The Amazon rain forest contains a huge variety of plants and animals than any other place in the world. A statistic shows that a two and half acre area contains about 280 or more species of animals and trees. The growth of resources has made the rain forest decrease in size over the years.
Only six percent of the rain forests are being protected today. Human activities are out of control and the forests are depleting rapidly. The rain forests are the homes to a variety of animals. These animals such as monkeys, gorillas, and leopards are a big source of food, which the native villagers heavily depend on. Many villagers depend on certain animals for medicine. The two major factors that are destroying the rain forests are logging and poaching, logging being the greater of the two. The further aspects of mans impact on the vegetation of the rain forests must be mentioned: (1)the commercial exploitation of trees for lumber, (2)the continued exploitation of wood for fuel, including charcoal, and (3)the introduction of exotic trees for production of raw materials.(Bennett 230) Logging itself, does not have to be so destructive. The multiple clearances of land are what is so destructive. The forest has the ability to replenish itself if given the proper time to. The problem is that as soon as the new trees reach a suitable size they are cut again. Some areas of the rain forest have been cleared three times in thirty years. Logging has grown extensively, and there is a spread of it into the last intact forests. One of these is the Amazon River Basin. The Basin is being logged from every side.
There use to be a selective process into which trees could be cut and which were to be saved, but now there is barely any selective process at all. Excellent forestry has four characteristics: It consists of limiting the cutting of timber to that which can be removed annually in perpetuity. It consists of growing timber on long rotations, generally from one to two hundred years. It consists of practicing a selection system of cutting wherever this is consistent with the biological requirements of the species. Finally, it consists of taking extreme precautions to protect the soil.(Mason 275) The number of trees being able to cut down has more than doubled in the past ten years. The amount of central and west rain forests that have vanished are beyond belief. Uneconomical logging methods and population explosions have taken its toll on the forests. South American logging companies are a serious threat to the forests. They are extremely destructive because they cut a large variety of tree species and go for clear felling, which is the total clearing of an area. They are very secretive so they are hard to find and track down. There are areas of logging trucks, dirt roads, boomtowns, and sawmills that work day and night non-stop. Improvements are being made with specialized machinery and technical improvements such as sawmills extracting more wood from one log than in the past.
Poaching is the second most destructive activity done to the rainforest. The numbers of animals slaughtered is horrendous. They are being killed off at an alarming rate. Poachers proudly display their piles of freshly killed meat along the sides of the roads. Safari-hunters go out for a wildlife free-for-all disregarding the laws about any of the animals they kill. The bush meat, which is another name for meat from the rainforests, is a big demand in big cities. Poaching and trading of bush meat is a big business and involves all the layers of the society. Commercial hunters act as rulers of the forest and burn any native villages that get in there way. The local natives are even engaged in poaching, but the new settlers have a much greater impact on the killing of protected wildlife. Logging companies and agencies assist in the trade of bush meat. Their workers rely on bush meat since no other food is supplied by their employers. Logging roads boost bush meat trade, providing the means the means to get poachers and hunters into remote areas of the forest. The trucks are an efficient means of transport. Poachers hide the carcasses of their animals under canvasses on logging trucks. Commercial hunting of bush meat is ten times greater than that done by local hunters. Some of the high marketed items of the rainforest are live young gorillas and chimpanzees, ivory, and leopard and bongo skins.
Today, snares are mainly used to catch animals of the rainforest. Years ago, natural fibers were used in the construction of these snares, only allowing the capture of small animals. Currently, snares are being made with bicycle wire, easily killing or injuring large animals. These snares kill and injure many fully protected wildlife. Daily inspection of these traps is impossible. One tour into the woods can take two to three days, sometimes up to a week. Ecologists are very concerned about the loss of diversity in ecosystems on two accounts. First there is the loss of information content as each species is eliminated, and second there is the resultant decreased stability, which may lead to the loss of the whole ecosystem.(Boughy 19)Carbon dioxide is the major gas involved in the greenhouse effect, which causes global warming. Human activities are altering the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.(Noss 23) Tropical forests store an immense amount of carbon; each acre holds about 180 metric tons. Deforestation allows the carbon that was stored in the trunks to escape and combine with oxygen to form into carbon dioxide. From 1850-1950, deforestation has released 122 billion metric tons into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide increases the greenhouse effect which creates global warming. Global warming will enable ice caps to melt, which in turn will cause flooding.
Deforestation of the rain forest is a threat to life all over the world. Since the the Amazon rainforests are one of the most highly endangered habitats there is a great need for botanic gardens in the tropics to undertake conservation projects.(Scott 182) There is no one solution for saving the rain forests. Worldwide boycotts are the most effective ways of stopping rain forest destruction.(Kristula 1997) The countries which hold the rain forests need them for their resources which is essential for the economy of their country. Until these countries are economically stable and dont need to continue deforestation, the problem will not go away. The world is going to have to come together in order to for it to be fixed.
There are many projects out there working to help the conservation of the Amazon and the other forest of the world. Which help to preserve small portions of land. Some of these conservation projects are offered to the public, some of which allow people to adopt pieces of land for a fee. These projects by themselves are not enough to protect the forests from destruction. As time has gone by, the problem of conserving the rain forests has become a subject that more people are starting to look at. Most people dont seem to understand that once something is extinct, it is never coming back. If an alternate way isnt devised to harvest the rainforests, then pretty soon there will be no forests to get resources from.
Works CitedBennett, Charles F. Man and Earths Ecosystems. New York: John Wiley and Sons Incorporated, 1975.
Boughey, Arthur S. Man and the Environment. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1975.
Caufield, Catherine. In the Rainforest. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984.
Kristula, Dave. Rainforests. 1998 . .
Mason, William H. Environmental Problems. Dubuque, Iowa: Ww. C. Brown Company Publishers, 1973.
Michigan State University. Tropical Rain Forest Information Center. .
Noss, Reed F. Restoring Diversity. Washington D.C.: Island Press, 1996.
Odum. Howard T. A Tropical Rain Forest. Washington D.C.: Office of Information Services and U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, 1970.
Sparks, John. Planet Earth. Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company Incorporated, 1976.
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