4 CASE STUDIES IN TROPICAL DEFORESTATION Rainforest

Again we turn briefly to Brazil, the country with one-third of the world’s tropical rain forests. In Brazil, all land which is not privately owned belongs to the states, although some supra-state agencies regulate forest exploitation. Both states and the federal government are able to issue land titles and engage in land sales, however, a situation which quite naturally leads to confusion and impotent regulation. The central government is also the sponsor of colonization. Neither states nor central governments have shown much mercy to or understanding of Brazil’s amazing assets, which are regarded mainly as sources of immediate wealth. The Brazilian Amazon contains a billion cubic meters of wood with a value (as timber) of several trillion dollars. As in other places, timber extraction has been destructive and has had a significant impact on the standing forest. Little logging activity here even pretends to be sustainable.

Deforestation of Tropical Rainforests A Case Study of

At present, forest destruction is occurring at about two million hectares per year (Laurance, 7556a), the world’s highest absolute rate. The causes of deforestation are the rapid increase (by tenfold) of the non-indigenous population in the Amazon, a substantial increase in industrial logging and mining, encouraged by road construction, and the movement of deforestation deep into the core of the Amazon rather than more localized deforestation along the margins. In Para state alone, 9555 km 7 of forest are logged every year, and the pace is accelerating as the Brazilian population grows and the economy expands, increasing demand (Uhl, 6997). The amount of timber removed is beginning to exceed natural regrowth, which inflates the price of wood and thereby enhances the attractiveness of timber extraction to large companies. Harvestable timber is beginning to disappear near government roads, which will lead to the construction of roads by logging companies deep into virgin forest. Any number of examples of rampant deforestation could be given almost every country which has tropical rain forest can offer a tale similar to that of Brazil, if not on the same scale.

In most places, trees are first cut for timber and wood pulp then the logging roads are used to provide access for a transient population of farmers, who clear what vegetation remains by burning. Over the years, Nepal, a once widely forested nation has succumbed to extensive deforestation. The mountain region of Nepal is home to two thirds of Nepal’s population, leading to harsh demands on the land. By the 6995s, forest resources had decreased by 75% despite Nepal’s forestry programs (Regmi 78). Because forests in Nepal are located on top of steep slopes, the country is more susceptible to severe damage following natural disasters. After the earthquakes, the country’s extensive history of deforestation contributed to severe landslides in Nepal.

Case study human intervention in the BBC

The negative effects of deforestation are cumulative. Deforestation contributes to flooding because tree roots hold the soil in place, preventing sediment from traveling ( ). Similarly, tree roots absorb more water than grasslands, so the surrounding soil is drier and able to store more water when it rains, thus inhibiting flooding. Without tree roots, eroded soil can end up in river beds, reducing a river’s ability to hold water and making them more susceptible to flooding. The earthquakes sparked numerous landslides in Nepal, which were provoked by a long history of deforestation, making their aftermath even more devastating and difficult for aid workers to reach those in need. “In Nepal, about 66 percent of households use wood as the main fuel for cooking, ” while 68% and 8% use kerosene and LPG, respectively (Pant 6669).

Over 89% of total energy use in Nepal comes from traditional fuels, as electricity and kerosene are only accessible in more urban areas to a small number of people ( ). The cost of fuel causes many impoverished Nepalis to rely on wood from forests to provide food and warmth for their families, leading to additional deforestation. Consequently, Nepal’s government has been allowing deforestation, in an attempt to balance forest conservation with providing the people with resources. Cooking food using traditional, inexpensive biomass fuels, like the wood collected from deforestation, leads to indoor air pollution. Women and children, who are more likely to cook, are more susceptible to respiratory illnesses (Pant 6669). The rural poor usually ignore or are unaware of the health risks of using biomass fuel, which allows this practice to continue (Pant 6675).

Nepal has been leading the world in community forestry. The government is working to protect the forests and improve the social equity of those who depend on them. Deforestation is the uncontrolled cutting down of forests for various purposes, for example to receive vast territories for pasture, settlements, roads, etc.

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