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Deforestation: Description and Analaysis

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Hareet Dhillon

on 19 December 2012

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Transcript of Deforestation: Description and Analaysis

Deforestation: Description and Analysis By: Hareet, Jagraj and Jesse What is Deforestation? Deforestation is the clearing or removal of the trees in a forested area
There are two types of rainforest: temperate and tropical
Deforestation is present all around the world but the most damaging tropical deforestation is specifically taking place in parts of Central America, much of South America, Africa and Southeast Asia (India, Thailand, China etc.) and Eastern Australia
This destruction of the forests on Earth is caused by the greedy logging companies and governments, as well as the helpless landowners Every second, 1 1/2 acres of rainforest are cut down
20 000 square miles in the Amazon Rainforest alone are lost every year
The wealth of the rainforests is phenomenal, making this issue even more shocking and sad
Deforestation also results in other environmental problems
The impacts are huge, ranging from biodiversity loss to climate change Causes? Logging is actually not the major cause of deforestation: agriculture, or specifically, grazing land is
Huge demand for cheap meat in the Western world
Forests are cleared for use as grazing fields for animals
Most ranchers in the Amazon operate at a loss though
Grazing land doesn't last long and is quickly abandoned Subsistence farming is when farmers focus on growing crop to feed their families and not on selling crop
This problem has increased with increasing population
Use the slash-and-burn method to clear land
Encouraged by the poor governments but not a sustainable practice ( many farmers can only produce 3-4 crops before they have to move on) Commercial logging is also a huge cause of deforestation
The trees are used to make timber for furniture, building materials and charcoal
Imported by developed countries at an astonishing and harmful rate
There is so much demand that some countries that used to export are now importing timber
Logging is an essential source of revenue for these countries but the multinational logging corporations are the ones making the majority of the profit
Companies make thousands in profit from each acre which they buy at $2 each Besides timber, logging is also used to provide fuel wood and charcoal for developed countries
eg. steelplant in Brazil uses million of tons of wood to produce the charcoal needed to make steel for cars in Japan
The paper industry is also a huge factor in the reasons for deforestation
The world's biggest pulp mill is in Aracruz, Brazil
Biggest customers include the US, Belgium, Great Britain and Japan
The world consumes 300 million tons of paper a year, most of which is needless waste Impacts? Biodiversity loss is a huge impact of deforestation
It is estimated that 50-80% of species on Earth live in the tropical rainforests
Less than 1% of the millions of species in the Amazon have been studied for their uses and impact on humans
We are losing more than 137 species a day due to deforestation
This is very bad news for Earth; it is a mass extinction event that we have knowledge of but choose to do nothing about
The indgenous tribes of the rainforets have also suffered and are still suffering form the effects of deforestation Deforestation is also contributing greatly to climate change , with 20% of greenhouse gas emissions a result of this damaging way of life
When a forest cleared, the carbon from the wood (of which trees contain around 50% of) bond with the oxygen in the air, to form CO2
When forests are cleared for corps/grazing lands, much of the carbon emissions come from the soil
eg. Indonesia has swampy forests with soil containing peat (decaying organic matter); when the peat burns it releases huge volumes of greenhouse gases Deforestation also disrupts water cycles
Trees are responsible for taking up groundwater and contributing to the water cycle
With the lack of trees due to them being cut down this isn't possible in many areas of the rainforest
This result in a drier (local) climate
Trees also provide a canopy to the wet soil, blocking out the sun, but because of deforestation , the soils dries out because of prolonged exposure to the sun Soil erosion is the washing away of soil by water, wind and human practices.
The lack of trees offers less protection for the soil and increased runoff
The topsoil, which is the uppermost, fertile soil, is rapidly eroded by heavy rainfall
Tropical rainforest topsoil is already weak in nutrients and when the topsoil disappears in an area no vegetation will grow there
The majority of the nutrients are found in the living plants and decomposing organic matter on the forest floor
The slash-and-burn method destroys these precious stores of nutrients in return for fertile land that will last only a few years
Cattle ranches result in compacted land, further inhibiting soil recovery Other Environmental Problems? Deforestation can result in other environmental problem as well
Flooding is a direct result of the run-off containing eroded soil which blocks up rivers; the soila slo cause siltation
Lower rainfall and higher temperatures occur because there are no trees to help the water cycle along
The fertile land then becomes becomes arid land, or desert, in a process called desertification
Overgrazing by animals take away vegetation and expose bare soil which is than over cultivated, furthering the desertification
All these factors combine to create land degradation which is the deterioration in the quality of land, its topsoil, vegetation, and/or water resources usually caused by excessive exploitation Conclusion It all comes down to the developed world.......
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