Amazon Deforestation

Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. Deforestation
  3. Causes Of Deforestation
  4. Industrialization
  5. Population Growth
  6. Forest Fires And Natural Disasters
  7. Effects Of Deforestation
  8. Loss Of Lives And Damage To Properties
  9. Loss Of Biodiversity
  10. Loss Of Income, Food And Shelter
  • Deforestation: Mitigation Measures
  1. Reforestation
  2. Legislation
  3. Afforestation
  4. Community Programs
  5. Integrated Approach
  6. Conclusion
  7. Works Cited

Appendix 1

  1. Note cards

Appendix 2 (Source evaluation)

Conservation of Forests

INTRODUCTION

World forests including the Amazon serve important functions that range form carbon cycle to water recycling and provision of food, raw materials and shelter for many humans. However, all these benefits are under threat because of deforestation. Thousands of hectares of world forests are lost every minute. The bare land is exposed to severe flooding and desertification. During such severe floods, hundreds of lives are lost while properties are damaged. There is a direct link between global warming and deforestation. Forests play a very important role in absorbing the millions of cubic meters of carbon released by other organisms and plants. Without this carbon recycling capacity in the atmosphere, the carbon dioxide is absorbed into the atmosphere leading to significantly high atmospheric temperatures or climate change (Scheer and Moss, 2012 par. 2; Hilderman, 2010 par. 2). While much of the deforestation of the Amazon forest is done by mostly companies, all people are affected. Therefore, stopping deforestation requires efforts of all members of the societies including the companies themselves and the government and/or its agencies.

Environmental pollution and the resultant global warming and climatic change have become a serious problem that threatens the very survival of human beings. Ironically, human beings have been the key suspect in contributing to environmental pollution. Through industrial, farming and household activities, humans increase the levels of pollutants including greenhouse gases and other wastes which reduce the quality of land, water and atmosphere. The food and drinks industry in Ireland forms an integral part of economic development for individuals and the country at large. It is a source of employment and livelihoods for thousands of employees while many investors in the industry and the government generate the much needed capital to help in economic development. However, the industry generates significantly large volumes of waste materials and wastewater which are proportional to the large volumes of raw materials including water that the industry uses in various processes. All these translate to large volumes of pollutants mostly gases released into the atmosphere compromising the quality of the atmosphere.

It is therefore imperative that the industry implements an environmental management system that will help it mitigate the adverse effects of its activities while also ensuring that the industry remains as productive as possible. The ISO 14000 provides a broad range of effective and systematic measures which the industry and others can implement to reverse the adverse effects their activities have on the environment at the present and in the future. For the food and drinks industry in Ireland to effectively implement this system, it must plan by establishing the state of affairs and various objectives that the system will aim at achieving. Such planning must also include identifying the various processes that the industry will or must implement in order to meet these objectives. It must then implement the processes as stipulated in the action plan. This must include implementation at all levels including individual companies and entities operating in this industry. It also identifies the various roles key partners including government and various local and international agencies can play in the implementation stage. Such partnership must also be extended when it comes to monitoring and measuring the successes and failures of the system. The results must be reported and the various recommendations highlighted in order for action to be formulated and taken to address them and improve the system. However, it is imperative to note that environmental issues and economic activities are very dynamic. Therefore, the system must be continually adjusted and fine tuned to meet the challenges of time and industry dynamics.

Deforestation

  1. Causes of Deforestation

Deforestation, which is the indiscriminate cutting down of trees without replacing, is mainly caused by human activities. The following human activities significantly contribute to deforestation.

  1. Industrialization

Civilization has lead to the development of industries. Setting up of most industries requires the clearing of large acres of land covered by forests. However, the lumbering industry is directly dependent on forests for its raw material: timber. Much of the deforestation in the past and present is as a result of lumbering. Other than cutting down trees thereby clearing huge chunks of forested lands, lumbering also interferes with the natural plants and animals in these forests (Maitar, 2013 par. 11).

  1. Population Growth

Human population has growth fast over the past decades. The resulting population has put significant pressure on the natural resources including forests. The demand for resources including raw materials for industries has increased. Demands of humans have increased. Moreover, the increased number of people has also strained the space available for settlement leading to many people living on forest lands. As humans move and live on the forest lands, many more acres of forested land are cleared discriminately. The resulting deforestation poses serious dangers to the forests of the world, the human population and general biodiversity of the world (Laurance, 1999, 111 par. 5 and 112 par. 2 – 4).

  1. Forest Fires and Natural Disasters  

One of the leading causes of deforestation is forest fires. Forest fires are common phenomena in countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia especially during dry seasons. The situation during dry seasons is further made worse by the strong winds that spread the wild fires across acres of forest lands. While some forest fires result from accidents, a significantly number of them has been started intentionally by wicked individuals. Natural disasters especially volcanic eruptions and sometimes typhoons can lead to destruction of huge tracks of forested land. Debris from volcanic eruptions and strong winds of typhoons are deadly forces of nature which contribute significantly to deforestation.

Table 1 showing relative and absolute rates of forest conversion in the major tropical regions throughout the decade of the 1980s.

  Relative rates Absolute rates
  Logging rate (%/year) Deforestation rate  (%/year) Logging (millions of ha/yr) Deforestation (millions of ha/yr)
Americas 0.3 0.75 2.5 7.5
Asia 0.7 1.1 2.1 4
Africa 0.2 0.7 1.1 4.1

Source: Adapted from Laurance, 1999, p.111.  http://www.ncsu.edu/project/amazonia/Laurance.pdf

Source: Adapted from Laurance, 1999, p.112. http://www.ncsu.edu/project/amazonia/Laurance.pdf

 

Source: Adapted from Laurance, 1999, p.112. http://www.ncsu.edu/project/amazonia/Laurance.pdf
  1. Effects of Deforestation

The irony of deforestation is that it is mainly caused by human beings and it is humans who are greatly affected by it. The nonhuman species are therefore considered as innocent victims of the mechanizations of human beings and natural disasters to a small extent.

  1. Loss of Lives and Damage to Properties

Deforestation leads to severe flooding (Hilderman, 2010 par. 4). During such floods, many people lose their lives with the most helpless being children, women, the sick and disabled individuals. Severe floods also predispose humans to health hazards and diseases such as cholera. Severe floods usually have devastating effects to infrastructure; in most cases telephone and power lines, roads and buildings including hospitals are flattened or severely damaged. The effect of such damage is difficulty in getting important services and goods including health services. In the long term, the reconstruction of houses and structures requires significant amount of resources including funds. Such unexpected expenditure not only affects the economy of the affected countries but also the living conditions of their citizens.

 

  1. Loss of Biodiversity

The damage to environment poses a serious threat to the various plant and animal species which live in the forests. Deforestation as a result of forest fires, natural disasters and indiscriminate cutting down of trees by human beings may cause migration and/or death of the plants and animals living in the forests. These combine with global warming to cause extinction of several species of plants and animals while also endangering several more (Hilderman, 2010 par. 7).

  1. Loss of Income, Food and Shelter

Many communities around the world living within or near forests depend on forests for their livelihood. From food to shelter and raw materials for their industries, forests provide a wide range of resources which are important in supporting the livelihoods of these communities. Forests provide timber for building and construction while most foods especially vegetables and fruits grow in the forests. Forests also play an important role in the tourism industry as many tourists are attracted by the good forest environments and the animals and plants living within the forests. Tourists provide income n to the local communities and the country. Yet these benefits are threatened by deforestation. And ironically, these are benefits enjoyed by humans who are the major suspects in causing deforestation.

  • Deforestation: Mitigation Measures

Mitigation measures aimed at curbing the problem of deforestation primarily target man-made contributors to deforestation. The natural disasters such as typhoons and volcanic eruptions are beyond human control; humans can only endeavor to implement policies aimed at recovering the damaged forests.

 

  1. Reforestation

If deforestation is discriminate cutting down of trees, then it is only logical that this vice is tackled by replacing the cut trees. Reforestation is aimed at planting trees in areas which were formerly forested but are now deforested. This restoration of lost forests forms an important step towards conserving forests.

  1. Legislation

The core of conservation of forests lies with the formulation, adoption and implementation of policies and legislations which will ensure that forests are protected and preserved. Laws and policies provide a legal framework which can be used in conserving forests. This includes provisions on punishment for offenders and mitigation measures for recovering lost forests while also establishing new ones (Voigt, 2012 par. 6, 7). Such programs include Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program by the United Nations (Scheer and Moss, 2012 par. 5).

  1. Afforestation          

  Kevin Voigt (2012), writing for CNN, cites a report by the World Bank which reported “that a football field of forest is clear-cut every two seconds around the globe” as a result of illegal logging (par. 1). Therefore, it is imperative that a mitigation measure of equal proportion is also applied in order to prevent the loss of our forests. Establishing new forests will go along way in restoring the size of land under forests.

  1. Community Programs

Communities living within and around the forests benefit directly or indirectly from the forests and their activities affect the existence of these forests. Therefore, it is imperative that they also involved in the protection and restoration of these forests. Through creation of awareness on the importance of forests and the need to preserve and conserve them and provision of seedlings, these communities can help in restoring and protecting these forests.

  1. Integrated Approach

An integrated forest conservation approach appreciates the importance of concerted efforts towards conservation our forests. This includes the use of a combination of reforestation, afforestation, legislation and community-based programs. This will ensure that all stakeholders including industries, government, individuals and communities participate in reclaiming and restoring our forests (Maitar, 2013 par. 15).

Conclusion

Forests benefit all yet these benefits are under threat. The area of land covered by forests around the globe is decreasing at an alarming rate. Therefore, forest conservation requires the concerted efforts of all stakeholders. These efforts must be geared towards mitigating the effects of man-made factors contributing to deforestation while minimizing the effects of natural causes such as volcanic eruptions, super typhoons and wild fires in some cases. These measures will ensure that humans put a cap to the severe floods, searing heat and loss of biodiversity that come with deforestation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Hilderman, Richard. “The Effect of Deforestation on the Climate and Environment.” Mother Earth News. December 27, 2010. http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/the-effect-of-deforestation-on-the-climate-and-environment.aspx#axzz2lhDVk3ak

Laurance, William F. “Reflections on the tropical deforestation crisis.” Biological Conservation 91 (1999): 109 – 117. http://www.ncsu.edu/project/amazonia/Laurance.pdf

Maitar, Bustar. “APP commits to end deforestation!” Green Peace. February 5, 2013. http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/forests/app-commits-end-deforestation-20130205

Scheer, Roddy and Moss, Doug. “Deforestation and Its Extreme Effect on Global Warming.” Scientific American. November 13, 2012. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=deforestation-and-global-warming

Voigt, Kevin. “World Bank: Football field of forest lost every two seconds.” CNN. March 21, 2012. http://edition.cnn.com/2012/03/20/business/world-bank-illegal-logging/index.html