The Amazon is the largest and most incredible of the world’s rainforests. Located in northern part of South America it spans 9 different countries including 60% of Brazil. The Amazon basin is a giant record-breaking river system, it’s waterways densely crowded by trees, plant and animal life. The diversity and scale of the Amazon rainforest is difficult to imagine. Only a tiny fraction of the plant and animals species which live there have been seen by humans and even fewer recorded by science.
It is so huge that the atmosphere of the planet would change dramatically if it were destroyed. It takes in so much carbon dioxide that it is currently the largest factor in preventing global warming. However with more and more of the Amazon being destroyed by deforestation this may change.
The effects of loosing the Amazon on the planet would be on scale simply incomparable to current figures on climate change. The massive levels of carbon dioxide released would cause the planets temperature to rocket causing untold catastrophe.
The Roots of Deforestation in the Amazon
Every year gigantic areas of the Amazon are cut down or burned to make way for agriculture. Small farmers do it to provide food for an impoverished people whilst large companies do it on a much larger scale. Logging also plays a huge part on a small scale locals use the wood to build and to use as fuel whilst large companies again do the same on a much larger scale.
Local use of the forest doesn’t have much impact and the clearer areas grow back quickly once left but the large scale destruction by big corporations has a lasting effect in permanently reducing the forest in size and splitting it in to smaller and smaller remnants. This causes animal and plant species that can never be brought back to become extinct as their habitat changes or is destroyed. The massive demands these companies make mean that the land is quickly depleted and little can grow or recover on this land. Humans can have a devastating effect on the environment.
The Outcome of Deforestation in the Amazon
The Amazon is a unique and vital natural resource, where will we get wood once it and forests like it are gone. We need to work with nature in a sustainable way to preserve the wonders and life giving properties of this ecosystem.
The destruction of the Amazon would result in widespread flooding (worlds largest river system and flood plain), massive climate change resulting in the deaths of millions and the vast resources and natural treasures of the Amazon (most not yet discovered) being lost. Including plants with medicinal properties, which may hold the key to curing many currently difficult to treat illnesses. The Amazon protects not only from floods but drought, soil erosion and thus famine.
The homes of the tribal people who live there will also be lost, some previously unknown tribes. People who have had no contact with the modern world were recently seen shooting arrows at a plane that went overhead, they too will be affected and could loose their home and way of life.
Finally we will loose one of the worlds most spectacular natural wonders leaving the world a poorer place for our descendants if they manage to survive in the changed planet we leave behind.
The future is hard to predict but one thing is certain we must stop deforestation now before it is too late. Because if we don’t then we know the consequences will be devastating. It is hard to appreciate what we have until we loose it and our regret may come too late.