Deforestation in Amazon
- An official data released depicted that the area deforested in Brazil's Amazon reached a 15-year high after a 22% jump from the prior year.
- The survey was done through National Institute for Space Research’s Prodes monitoring system.
- It showed the Brazilian Amazon lost 13,235 square kilometers of rainforest in the 12-month reference period (August 2020 to July 2021)
- A study conducted earlier showed that Amazon Forests have started emitting Carbon dioxide (CO2) instead of absorbing it.
- Eventually, global climate change and more deforestation will likely increase temperature and change rain patterns in the Amazon affecting region’s forests, water availability, biodiversity, agriculture, and human health.
Causes of deforestation in the Amazon:
- Increased government incentives: In the form of loans and infrastructure spending, including roads and dams;
- Scaled-up private sector finance : Due to growing interest in ""emerging markets"" and rising domestic wealth;
- Cattle ranching: It is the leading cause of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. In Brazil, government figures attributed 38 percent of deforestation from 1966-1975 to large-scale cattle ranching.
- Colonization and subsequent subsistence agriculture
- Commercial agriculture : Soy was both a direct and indirect deforestation. While forest was converted directly for soy fields, the crop's impact on rainforests was much larger, providing an impetus for new highways, driving up land prices and thereby encouraging land speculation, and encouraging ranchers and small farmers to move deeper into rainforest areas.
- Hydroelectric projects like Balbina dam .
- Mining has had a substantial impact in the Amazon. High mineral and precious metal prices has spurred unprecedented invasions of rainforest lands across Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, and Peru.
- Oil and gas development is fueling environmental concerns in the Western Amazon. Large blocks of rainforest have been granted for exploration and exploitation licenses in recent years.
Amazon Rainforest: The World's Largest Rainforest
The Amazon River Basin is home to the largest rainforest on Earth.
The basin, roughly the size of the forty-eight contiguous United States, covers some 40 % of the South American continent and includes parts of eight South American countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, and Suriname, as well as French Guiana, a department of France.
It is made up of a mosaic of ecosystems and vegetation types including rainforests, seasonal forests, deciduous forests, flooded forests, and savannas.
The basin is drained by the Amazon River, the world's largest river in terms of discharge, and the second longest river in the world after the Nile.
The river is made up of over 1,100 tributaries, 17 of which are longer than 1000 miles, and two of which (the Negro and the Madeira) are larger, in terms of volume, than the Congo river.
What can be done to save the Amazon rainforest?
- Rehabilitation and increased productivity of formerly forested lands: To lessen future forest loss, we must increase and sustain the productivity of farms, pastures, plantations, and scrub-land in addition to restoring species and ecosystems to degraded habitats.
- Expansion of protection areas : Paramount to the success of conservation efforts are:
- prioritizing areas for protection -- i.e. focusing on biological hotspots
- ensuring sufficient enforcement agencies and funding exist for the maintenance of protected areas
- encouraging the involvement of locals -- local people must be made both partners and beneficiaries in conservation, and not enemies of it.
- Sustainable Development: Incorporate the techniques of indigenous Amazonians into agricultural projects in the rainforest to increase the productivity of degraded forest lands and promote sustainable use of forest resources.
- Land policy reform: To assure a justiciable use of forest lands
- Law Enforcement: To ensure that stakeholders are abiding by law, proper inspection and surveillance should be done.
- Amazon rainforests are literally the “lungs of earth”. Any degradation may result in increased carbon imbalance that will subsequently impact the global climate. Hence, proper measures and steps need to be taken to ensure that degradation be curbed to a sustainable level.