Deforestation

Deforestation is the destruction or damage of forests.People cause the most damage to the forests. People clear forests to created farmland, harvest lumber, and to build structures. People have been cutting down trees and burning forests for thousands of years. Deforestation has become severe since the 1800's. Natural forests have once covered much of the world. About half of these native forests have been destroyed. The forests that remain are mostly damaged. Many forests have been fragmented into smaller patches separated by farmland, roads and cities.
Rainforest in the Amazon
Rainforest in the Amazon

















Location
Deforestation is mainly happening to the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Deforestation results in the loss of vast areas of rain forest each year. The photograph shows a part of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil that has been cleared by slash and burn tactics. In the method farmers cut down trees and burn them. The ashes enrich the soil for a brief period of time before the nutrients are gone. The farmers then clear another area of rainforest. Most people are unaware that about 20% of greenhouse gas emissions actually come from tropical trees. The reason is simple, trees are half carbon, and when they're cut down or burned, they release that carbon into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.
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Impact Tropical forests cover about 7% of the earth's dry land, and they harbor about half of all species on earth. Many species are so specialized to the micro habitats within the forest that they can only be found in small areas. The specialization makes them vulnerable to extinction. In addition to the species lost when an area is totally deforested, the plants and animals in the fragments of forest that remain also become increasingly vulnerable, sometimes even committed, to extinction. The remaining rainforest trees then usually die off after the forest is destroyed. After an area has been deforested the soil is vulnerable to flooding and erosion. The soil then wont be able to have crops grow on it for years.


Photograph of thin layer of organic soil overlying clay in the Amazon
Photograph of thin layer of organic soil overlying clay in the Amazon


Possible Solutions
Some solutions to save the rainforests are to expand protected areas. Also help fund IBAMA- Brazil's environmental protection agency. IBAMA estimates that 80% of logging done in Brazil is illegal, but since their under payed they can do little to stop it. They could make new conservation policies to limit the area's of logging. They could also cut down on giving large plots of land to farmers, so they cant destroy as much of the forests for farming.



Future Outlook
If we don't do anything to help the rainforests, its estimated that if the current rate of trees getting cut down continues, then there will be no more rainforests in the year 2060. There are many groups out their trying to save the rainforests, hopefully they will find a way to save the rainforests before it is to late.





http://www.worldbookonline.com/advanced/extmedia?id=ar753760&st=deforestation&em=pc337077
http://www.worldbookonline.com/advanced/article?id=ar753760&st=deforestation#cite
Laurance, William F. "Deforestation." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2011. Web. 24 May 2011.

Staff. 1 RAINFOREST. Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service. 25 Feb. 2010. eLibrary. Web. 26 May. 2011.
http://elibrary.bigchalk.com/elibweb/elib/do/document?urn=urn:bigchalk:US%3BBCLib%3Bdocument%3B176536177
http://elibrary.bigchalk.com/elibweb/elib/do/document?urn=urn:bigchalk:US%3BBCLib%3Bdocument%3B156580131
Boucher, Doug. "DEVELOPMENT WITHOUT DEFORESTATION." WorldView. 01 Jul. 2008: 13. eLibrary. Web. 26 May. 2011.

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Deforestation/
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Deforestation/