The Amazon Rainforest

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Transcript The Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon Rainforest


A moist broadleaf forest

(in the Amazon Basin of South America) •

Total area of Amazon Basin

7 million square km² : ( the forest itself occupies


million km²) • located within

9 nations

: Brazil (with 60% of the rainforest), Colombia , Peru , Venezuela , Ecuador , Bolivia , Guyana , Suriname , and French Guiana . • The Amazon represents

over half

of the planet's remaining rainforests and comprises the



most species-rich tract

of tropical rainforest in the world.

A map showing the location of the Amazon Rainforest ( yellow line enclosed )

Map of the Amazon Basin in South America

People in the Amazon Rainforest

Kaiapo Indians in the Brazilian Amazon

Kaiapo mother and child, Brazil

Kaiapo father with child in the Amazon, Brazil

Deforestation in the Amazon:

• Deforestation : forested areas converse to non-forested areas. • The

main sources

of deforestation in the Amazon are human settlement and development of the land • Between 1991 and 2000, the total area of forest


in the Amazon rose from 415,000 to 587,000 km²  twice the size of Portugal with most of the lost forest becoming pasture for cattle.

• • •

History of deforestation and farming system of the Amazon:

when the colonists established farms within the forest during the 1600s. Their farming system was based on crop cultivation and the slash and burn method. The colonists were unable to successfully manage their fields and the crops because  loss of soil fertility and weed invasion. soils in the Amazon are productive for just a


period of time, and the farmers are therefore constantly moving and clearing more and more land However the results of the farming :  extensive deforestation damage.

and caused extensive environmental

Slash and burn

cutting and burning

of forest or woodlands to create fields for agriculture or pasture for livestock, or for a variety of other purposes.

• Historically, the practice of slash and burn has been widely used throughout most of the world,but the practice has been mostly


over the past few centuries


• The land is being cleared for

cattle ranches, mining operations, logging, and subsistence agriculture.

Some forests are being burned to make


to power industrial plants.

• Native peoples of the Amazon rainforest have used different plants for centuries as


their health and survival. and



According to Brazilian National Institute of Space Research(INPE), the original Amazon rainforest biome in Brazil of 4,100,000 km² was reduced to 3,403,000 km² by 2005

Causes of Deforestation in the Amazon:

Figures for specific causes of deforestation in the Amazon are spotty at best. Below are some rough estimated ranges, based on published data, informal surveys, and other sources. Cattle ranches 60-70% Small-scale, subsistence agriculture 30-40% Large-scale, commercial agriculture 1-2% Logging, legal and illegal 2-4% Fires/mining/urbanization/road construction/dams 2-4% (Selective logging and fires that burn under the forest canopy commonly result in forest degradation, not deforestation. Therefore these factor less in overall deforestation figures .)

The above pie chart showing deforestation in the Amazon by cause is based on the median figures for estimate ranges.


* The annual rate of deforestation has continued to increase from 1990 to 2003, because … (a) Profit form soybeans:


(second-largest global producer of soybeans)  as prices for soybeans rise  the soy farmers are pushing northwards into forested areas of the Amazon.

( As stated in Brazilian legislation, clearing land for crops or fields is considered an

‘effective use

’ of land and is the beginning towards land ownership.

(b) Profit form reselling the land: Cleared property is also valued

5 –10 times more

than forested land and for that reason valuable to the owner whose

ultimate objective

is resale

Consequences of deforestation in the Amazon


• • • • The Caribbean could be vulnerable to increased hurricane activity if deforestation of the Amazon rainforest is not stopped Working with religious leaders, scientists and politicians, Lelei LeLaulu, the president of Counterpart International, spoke on the effects that deforestation of the Amazon could have in the Caribbean , and the gulf states of America and Mexico. He said: “The scientists are telling us forest failure if forest transpiration, the forest which in turn gives birth deforestation of the Amazon leads to a pumps, leaving heat in the southern north Atlantic to more extreme hurricanes in the Caribbean .” Currently, more than one fifth of the rainforest Amazon rainforest has been destroyed and, according to a Brazilian congressional committee, the Amazon is vanishing at a rate of 52,000 square kilometres per year(20,000 miles per year). With these figures, the would be completely destroyed by the year 2050. LeLaulu said: “ We are now able to explain why the sea temperature of the southern north Atlantic has been rising, giving birth to more extreme hurricanes which ravage the Caribbean and north America.”

Amazon Conservation

Rehabilitation and increased productivity of formerly forested lands

-Increasing productivity of cleared rainforest lands by using improved technology to generate higher yielding crops. -produce grasses and crops that will grow on degraded forest soils -According to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature , the species has recovered "from a low of 200 wild animals recorded in the early 1970s ...[to its] 1,000th wild birth in March 2001."

• Expansion of protection areas ensuring sufficient enforcement agencies and funding exist for the maintenance of protected areas encouraging the involvement of locals

• Development based on concepts of sustainable use of some existing forest

e.g. Restrict the trade of certain rainforest tree species (Selective logging) Eliminate tax incentives and land policies which encourage conversion of forest to pasture. Increase productivity on existing pastureland

Conservation ?

• Some environmentalists commonly state : 1 hectare in the Peruvian Amazon has been calculated to have a value of


if intact forest is

sustainably harvested for fruits, latex, and timber

; $1000 if clear cut for commercial timber (not substainably harvested); or $148 if used as cattle pasture.

However, the assumptions of this study have been widely challenged.

• From 2002 to 2006, the conserved land in the Amazon Rainforest has almost


and deforestation rates have

dropped up

to 60%.

References: • •