There are many reasons why the rainforests are disappearing right before our eyes. There are two main causes total deforestation, agriculture and fuel wood collection in dry areas. The main cause of the disappearing forests are logging, mining, industrial development and large dams. Tourism is also a large threat in deforestation. They all play a major part in the degradation of all forests.
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What is logging? Many may ask that question to a forest expert. Logging is simply the cutting down of mature trees for their timber. Large areas of the forest are destroyed only to remove a few of its logs. The heavy equipment used to break through the forest causes even more damage. As the soil is compacted and the trees are cut down by the heavy machines, the chance for the regeneration of the forest decreases significantly. The tracks made by the heavy machinery are a site foe extreme soil disturbance which will eventually erode in heavy rains. Now the lives of all the forests inhabitants are disrupted by the removal of only a few logs. The International Tropical Trade Organization (ITTO), was established in 1988 to regulate the trade of tropical timber, but the amount of logging was insignificant on a world wide scale. Most rainforest timber on the international market is exported to rich countries. There, it is then sold hundreds of times the original price paid to the indigenous people whose forest have been plundered. The timber is then used for the production of doors, wood frames, crates, house hold utensils, and other items.
The next cause of deforestation is agriculture, the shifted cultivators, cash crops, and cattle ranching. The term shifted cultivators is commonly used for the people who have moved into the rainforest and established small scale farms. These people are landless peasants who followed roads into the damaged areas of the forests. Shifted cultivators are being blamed for 60% of tropical forest lost. The reason they are called shifted cultivators is that they are forced to move off of their own land and move into the forest which they had no knowledge in order to sustain themselves and their families. After a time these farmers encounter the same problems as the cash crop farmers do. The foil does not stay fertile for a long time, so they are forced to move or shift again to a new area in the forest destroying it more and more. It's evident that shifted cultivators have become part of the destruction of the rainforests but not the cause. Undisturbed areas of the rainforests are being cleared in order to provide land for food crops and grazing cattle. Much of these crops are grown to be exported to rich industrialized countries, which leaves the poor population to go hungry and fend for their selves. Because of the delicate nature of the rainforest soil the productivity of cash crops grown declines after a few years. Mono-culture plantations are those that produce only one species of tree or type of food. The reason they are referred to as cash crops is that the only reason they are planted is simply to make money and make it fast, with very little concern about the environmental damage they are causing. Most cases involve cattle damage, the cattle damage the land to such an extent where the ranchers have no use for it anymore, they move on destroying more and more of the rainforest. The forest is not the only thing being destroyed; cattle ranchers have exploited the land leaving it barren and stripped of nutrients not being able to sustain any life at all.
The third cause of deforestation is fuel wood, fuel wood is used for heating and cooking. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 1.5 to 2 billion worldwide rely on fuel wood for many purposes. The problem is worse in drier regions of the tropics. A solution will probably mean the return of the forest to local people who know how to control it.
Another cause is the production of large dams, in India and South America millions of acres of forests are being destroyed by the building of these large hydro-electric dams. It was a dominant view that hydro-electric dams had to be built or these countries would suffer from am energy crisis. The construction of the dams not only destroys the forests but also displaces the tens of thousands of families, not only destroying their land, but also their culture. The rates of waterborne diseases increase significantly. The downstream ecosystems are destroyed by the dams which trap the silt, trapping many valuable nutrients. The irrigation and industrial projects that are powered by these dams lead to extensive environmental damage in the future. The irrigation leads to destruction of soils and the industry leads to pollution.
Mining and industry is the fifth cause of rainforest destruction. Mining and Industrial development lead to direct forest loss due to the clearing out of land to establish projects. Roads are built through unattainable land, which then opens up the rainforest. This later causes sever water, air, and land pollution.
One more being the Colonization Schemes, government and international aid agencies for a time believed that by encouraging the colonization and the trans-migration schemes into the rainforest, they could improve the poverty felt by the people of the financially poor countries. It has become obvious that such schemes have failed numerous times, hurting the indigenous people and the environment. These schemes involved the relocation of millions of families into over populated parts or the forest. For example, in Indonesia, the Transmigration program begun in 1974. it is believed to be the greatest forest lost in Indonesia, directly causing an average loss of 200,000 hectares. These people suffered the same problem as the shifted cultivators did. The soil was not fertile enough, which made them move into another part of the forest destroying more land that was originally intended.
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The last cause is tourism, the creation of national parks has unquestionably protects rainforests. Though national parks are open to the public, the tourism is damaging most if these areas. National Parks are often advertised to vacationers before sufficient management plans have been developed. Insufficient financial support is to be paid for the preservation of forests by government departments. These government departments see tourism as an easy way to make money, therefore tourism is highly encouraged. Ecotourism or environmentally friendly tourism should educate the tourists to be more environmentally aware. Unfortunately many companies and resorts that advertise themselves as being ecotourist establishments are only exploiting the land for a profit.
In conclusion we all have a part in destroying the rainforests; whether it be by logging, mining, industrial development, agriculture, or tourism. In order to make the world a better place for everyone to live in we all must come together and protect what we are destroying. Without the rainforests there wouldn't be oxygen and without oxygen there will be no way for any for of life to survive. So I ask how important are the rainforests to you?
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