IntroductionThe Amazon Rainforest in South America is an interesting and complex ecosystem. It is home to where almost half of the world's species of plants and animals live. It is a sad fact that humans are quickly destroying one of the world's most valuable natural assets. What was once a vast rainforest is rapidly shrinking. There are many reasons why deforestation is taking place. People who participate in cattle ranching, logging, mining, farming, and road construction all contribute to the destruction of the rainforest. When the rainforest is cut-down at the alarming rate it has been, the earth loses 137 species of plants and animals each day. The information provided on this disappearing rainforest can be a starting point to educate both kids and adults on this important issue.
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Amazon Rainforest General Deforestation Facts
- The Amazon Rainforest stretches throughout South America from Brazil to Venezuela to Columbia and parts of Ecuador and Peru encompassing a billion acres of land.
- About one quarter of the western medicine used today has ingredients that originated in the Amazon Rainforest. With so many unidentified trees and plants, it is logical to conclude that many more have medicinal value that has not yet been discovered. If deforestation continues, we may never know how many more have potential to help save lives.
- People need oxygen to survive and the Amazon's trees and plants are responsible for providing more than 20% of the world’s oxygen. That is why the Amazon was given the nickname, Lungs of the Planet.
- People from around the world rely on the Amazon for a huge portion of their daily diets. Fruits, nuts, rice, corn, coffee, potatoes, vegetables, spices, and many other important foods are grown here. The availability of these foods will become scarce if the rainforest, as we know it, disappears.
Facts about Amazon Rainforest Deforestation by the Brazilian Government
- The government as well as individual people are responsible for destroying the rainforest. The Brazilian government thought it would be a good idea back in the 1970s to integrate the rainforest with civilization and created 9000 miles worth of roadways right through the rainforest. To do this the forest was cleared and countless trees were destroyed.
- There was an unanticipated consequence of the government building roadways through the rainforest. Various types of farmers were able to more easily reach the rainforest and started clearing more of the land for their own use.
- Brazil has finally put into place many policies and penalties which aim to deter both individuals and corporations from further deforestation. They have implemented more stringent law enforcement, satellite monitoring and designated areas that are completely protected.
Facts about the Effects of Amazon Rainforest Deforestation
- Deforestation has led to the decline of indigenous tribes, both contacted and un-contacted, in the Amazon as their homeland is invaded and destroyed.
- Pesticides used in farming in the Amazon end up in the rivers and kills fish. With more species of fish found here than in the entire Atlantic Ocean, this is certainly cause for concern.
- Other detrimental effects to the earth include:
- pollution of the water and air
- soil erosion
- Malaria outbreaks
- less oxygen and more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
- plant and animal extinction
- global warming