Two Causes of the Destruction of the Rain Forest
The tropical rain forests of the world are being destroyed. If we don't restrain or take
action towards the destruction, there is no telling what will happen to the world. Most scientists have predicted at that the rate we are going there will be no rain forests left by the year 2050. The two causes of the destruction of the rain forests are due to human impact. Deforestation and human exploitation of the rainforest are the two major things that destroy most of the rain forests around the world.
Deforestation is one of the causes of the destruction of the rain forests around the world. Deforestation is the large scale cutting and burning of trees. "Deforestation and its awesome con-sequences is hardly limited to Brazil. Events the world over can be traced to deforestation: last spring's disastrous floods in Bangladesh; the relentless southward spread of the Sahara Desert in Africa, encouraging famine; and, in the Northwestern United States, the destruction of an ever-green that is the only known source of a newly discovered cancer treatment agent"(Cooper 683). Most of the worlds rain forests are being destroyed from careless people by not putting out the campfire, smoking and throwing it away without putting it out, and these cause most of the hor-rible forest fires around the world. Another thing is cutting down trees for our uses and needs and that is a big cause of the destruction of the rain forests around the world. "Deforestation can have widespread social and political effects, too"(Landry 4).
Agriculture is one of the rain forest's main threats since it accounts for a large amount of the distraction. Cattle ranching is the main factor in the deforestation for agriculture. Cattle ranching was the major cause of the destruction in Brazil accounting for seventy two percent of Brazil's deforestation up to the year 1980. Cattle ranching in Costa Rica and many other Amazon countries was also one of major causes of deforestation. Road construction accounted for twenty seven percent of Brazil's deforestation between 1966 to 1975 which all fall under the agriculture category. "Land owners in Brazil have made more than 25 million acres of rain forest into cattle ranches. This area equals the size of the state Kentucky"(Mutel and Rodgers 32). In the 1990s, the rapid deforestation of tropical rain forests threatened to increase Earth's carbon dioxide levels, make much land unproductive, and force many plant and animal species into extinction. Some 40 to 50 million acres of forest were disappearing yearly, usually due to the needs of timber and ag-riculture industries (Mutel and Rodgers 27).
Tropical timber extraction by international companies has had a profound impact on the viability of the remaining areas of the rain forest. Yet, the impact does not stop there because af-ter the loggers leave, the slash-and-burn cultivators come into the logging roads. The agricultur-ists and the logging industry are very close to each other. A ratio shows, for every 177 cubic feet of logs removed by exploiters of timber, 2.47 acres are cut and torched by the slash-and-burn cultivators. After the loggers leave, slash-and-burn cultivators move into areas of the forest by the logging roads. "A family practices slash-and-burn farming by cutting forests and then burn-ing the remaining vegetation"(Mutel and Rodgers 27).
The second cause of the destruction of the rain forest is human impact. Human activities have severely disrupted the jungles of the world. Between 19 and 50 million acres are lost each year to farming, logging mining, and other human impacts. The largest continuous rain forest area, the Amazon is also the largest tract of unexploited, natural jungle. Most of South American
countries have some undistributed rain forest left, and some have made efforts to protect part of what remains. In Central America, cattle ranching and cultivation have wiped out an estimated two thirds of there region's rain forest.
There are large number of natural of natural phenomena and human activities that have had an impact on rain forests. Cyclones, lightning fires, disease, landslides, and other natural
forces are now of rather minimal influence compared to human activities such as logging, road building, mining, and large-scale clearing for cattle pasture and other agricultural crops. Tradi-tional societies practiced slash-and-burn cultivation in which only relatively small areas were cleared. After two or three years, when the nutrients in the soils had been depleted, the plot was abandoned and another cleared. Because the plots were small, the surrounding forest would quickly colonize them after they had been abandoned. In modern practice, however, the large-scale clearing that takes place in nearly all rain forest areas is so extensive that hundreds of years would probably needed for anything resembling the original vegetation to return.
Much of the once vast jungle region in Africa has been destroyed by lumbering and
Slash-and-burn agriculture. Slash-and-burn agriculture consists of cutting down trees and other
vegetation, burning what is left and then planting crops. Because of poor soil, many such areas
can support only two or three agricultural plantings before the small amount of nutrients is
exhausted and the land is abandoned. Timbering and crop clearing may eliminate the jungle for-ests of most of Africa soon.
Cooper, Mary H. "Saving the Forests." CQ Researcher. 20 Sept. 1991: 683-698.
Landry, Sue. "Saving the Rain Forest: A Patch of Hope." St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.). 27 Feb. 1994: 1F+.
Mutel, Cornelia F. and Mary M. Rodgers. Our Endangered Planet: Tropical Rain Forests.
Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications Company, 1991.