The Amazon rainforest is the largest, most diverse, and beneficial ecosystem in the world. The Amazon rainforest region is a tropical rainforest located in the northern part of the South America continent, it stretches across the countries of Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname, French Guiana and Guiana. Serving as the world’s largest specie rich biome, the rainforest offers the world many different types of benefits. Yet the effects of societies under appreciation for it has took a toll on its natural mission. The following presentation identifies and explains the natural characteristics of the Amazon rainforest. It will also discuss the impact humans currently have on it as well as their future impacts. The presentation will also provide individual strategies that will aid in preserving the Amazon for future generations.
The Amazon rainforest is a tropical forest. The Amazon covers 2.5 million square miles and extends across nine nations; with 60% of the rainforest, the majority of the forest lies in Brazil. The Amazon embodies more than half of the planets remaining rainforest it’s also the worlds biggest and most specie diverse tropical rainforest region. The Amazon provides numerous natural resources to the world. With its ability to supply 20% of the earth’s oxygen through the planets continuously reprocessing carbon dioxide into oxygen, the Amazon was nicknamed the “Lungs of our Planet. The Amazon River which starts in Peru and flows for over 4,000 miles and meets the Atlantic Ocean in Brazil is the Rainforests life supply. The Amazon Rainforest drainage is home to the world’s largest biodiversity. It is estimated that more than half of the world’s animal, plants and insects live in the Amazon. The rainforest bird’s of the Amazon account for more than one third of the world bird species. Additional 70% of anticancer planets are found in the Amazon.
Interdependent relationships serves as the foundation of the rainforest’s ecosystem, these relationships among species have been developing for millions of years. As a result, for each species that becomes extinct from the ecosystem, the survival rate of another species decreases.
Example of the Amazonian ecosystem:
- The Brazil nut tree of the Amazon rainforest relies on a ground dwelling rodent; the agouti for its survival. The agouti is the only creature with strong enough teeth to open the Brazil nut tree’s seed pods. As the agouti eats its seeds, it scatters them across them along the forest away from the original tree. These seeds then grow and form the next group of trees. Another significant species the Brazil nut tree depends on is the Euglossine orchid bee. Without the assistance of the Euglossine orchid bee for pollination, it is impossible for the Brazil nut tree to reproduce.
- Leaf-cutter ants are responsible for harvesting a sixth of the area’s leaves; they bring leaf fragments to their underground nests. They play a critical role in the rainforest’s ecosystem by pruning the vegetation, which stimulates new growth, and breaking down the leaves to renew the soil.
- Ecologists have found that ants get crucial nitrogen from liquids conveyed by plants and sap-sucking insects, not from chewing leaves or hunting on other animals. In return for their nectar the ants defend the plants and insects from leaf-chewers and carnivore.
- The rainforest is the strongest, most efficient ecosystem in nature. Once a tree falls, or a animal dies, the decomposer process begins instantly and turns the dead into mulch or a source of food in order to absorb its nutrients.
Today, more than 20% of the Amazon rainforest has been destroyed and is gone forever.
The following are the driving forces of the destruction of the Amazon
- Logging for Tropical Hardwoods
- Logging tropical hardwoods like teak, mahogany, rosewood, and other timber for furniture, building materials, charcoal, and other wood products is big business and big profits. Several species of tropical hardwoods are imported by developed counties, including the United States, just to build coffins that are then buried or burned.
- Fuel Wood and the Paper Industry
- Rainforest wood is imported by developing countries to uses as fuel wood and charcoal. Fuel wood is a major reason of destruction of the rainforest for example, A single steel plant in Brazil which makes steel for Japanese cars requirements millions of tons of wood each year to create charcoal that can be used in the manufacture of steel.
- Paper production also plays a major role in the deforestation of the Amazon. To set up a single plant operation, about 5,600 square miles of Amazon rainforest are burnt to the ground and replanted with pulpwood trees. A single paper manufacturing plant uses 2,000 tons of adjoining rainforest wood everyday to generate electricity in order to run the plant.
- Grazing Land
- With the growing demands of cheaper meat increasing, grazing land has risen to become a major problem for the Amazon. In Brazil alone, there are a projected 700 million chickens, 220 million cattle, 60 million pigs, and 20 million goats. There’s an estimated 29 million acres of large cattle ranches in the Brazilian Amazon. Yet these grazing lands last for only a certain period of time, soon the land becomes lacking nutrients in the soil they become useless and are left for newly cleared land. More than 63,000 square miles of land have reportedly been abandoned through this cycle in Brazil alone.
- Subsistence Farming
- Subsistence farming is a government-driven demolition of rainforest land is promoted by a widespread governmental approach in rainforest region, an attitude that the forest is an economic resource to be captured to assist in the growth of their countries.
More than half of the world’s rainforests have been destroyed by fire and logging in the last 50 years. Over 200,000 acres are burned every day around the world, or over 150 acres every minute. Experts also estimate that 130 species of plants, animals, and insects are lost every day. At the current rate of destruction, it is estimated that the last remaining rainforests could be destroyed in less than 40 years.
Impacts of deforestation:
- Deforestation has the greatest direct effect on the rainforest’s surrounding area. As the rainforest is lost the surrounding communities operational systems collapse, the important yet underappreciated benefits such as the normal flow of clean water and shielding the community from flood and drought. The forest performs as a kind of sponge, soaking up rainfall produced by storms while securing soils and releasing water at regular periods. This feature serves to regulate the rainforests and help restrain destructive flood and drought cycles that can occur when forests are cleared
- Another result of deforestation is extreme flooding. When the vegetation cover vanishes, overflow quickly gushes into streams, causing elevated river levels and subjecting villages, cities, and farming fields to flooding, particularly during the rainy season. Throughout the dry season, areas located at the mouth of the river of deforestation can be subjected to months-long droughts which disrupt river navigation, inflict destruction on crops, and disturb industrial business
- On the other hand, the area of the rainforest will become insufficient dry land. During transpiration, water emerges and evaporates into the atmosphere, which causes rain clouds to form. With deforestation, less moisture is vapor transpired into the atmosphere which results in the formation of fewer clouds. Consequently rainfall is decreased, subjecting the area to drought. In only a few years the area will became dry while the strong sun bakes down on the dead land.
In order to reduce the loss of the Amazon rainforests we must focus on both the conversion of existing natural ecosystems and the more rational use of already degraded and cleared areas. To decrease future forest loss we must increase and maintain the effectiveness of farms, pastures, plantations, and scrub-land in addition to restoring species and ecosystems to ruined habitats. By decreasing inefficient land-use practices, uniting profit on existing cleared lands, and improving previously developed lands we can reduce the necessitate to clear further rainforest.
Simple preservation habits to protect the Amazon:
- Recycle and reuse anything you can, such as newspapers, books, can, plastic shopping bags. If your neighborhood has curbside recycling, start recycling your glass, paper and plastic.
- Educate society on ecological importance of tree and the benefits society receives from the Amazon. In addition decrease the use of timber. Planting more trees & protecting them is an excellent way to improve the environment. Involving the community in the planting and preserving surrounding forestation.
- Finally, providing alternative fuel to the forest bordering poor people in order to decrease demands on firewood for daily need.