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The Effects of Deforestation

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  In a tropical rain forest, you will find many animal species such as the Emerald Tree Boa, Indian Elephant and Howler Monkey. These exotic animals are only a few of the endless inhabitants of the rain forests of the world. In fact, tropical rain forests house an entire 50% of the earth’s animal and plant population. Not only do they provide shelter for many unique species, they fight air pollution by providing us with fresh oxygen, and play a key role in the water cycle that helps to distribute water all over the world. Scientists sometimes even refer to the rain forest as the “Lungs of the Earth.”

  Although the rain forests covering the Earth benefit us in countless ways, it hasn’t stopped the human race from taking advantage of the natural resources the rain forests provide. More specifically, deforestation is the issue we have been facing for many years. Deforestation in the rain forest causes million of trees to be cut down yearly to clear area for housing, farming and for logging. These rates have increased alarmingly in the past years. According to the article ‘Tragedy and transformation: Deforestation in the Amazon,’ “Starting in the late 1960s, Brazil began cutting down and burning forest at an alarming rate. To date, it has cleared 18 percent of the original Amazon – an area the size of France.”

  These statistics have dire effects on the ecosystem of the rainforest. Probably the biggest impact of deforestation is the loss of animal habitat. As machinery plows through the thick, thriving canopy of the rain forest, it’s quickly losing its plant and animal diversity. The machinery irreversibly damages the natural beauty of the forest, smashing through the sturdy buttress roots used to soak up water and support the emergent trees, flattening the chlorophyll producing shrub on the forest floor, and knocking down the flourishing canopy of plentiful food, water and sunlight animals and bugs rely on for survival. A journalist from ‘The Disappearing Rain forests’ website added: “Experts estimates that we are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rain forest deforestation. That equates to 50,000 species a year.” Moreover, the place that we rely on so heavily for fresh oxygen and resources is being turned into one of the worlds biggest contributors to climate change. Excessive amounts of carbon dioxide are being discharged from the rain forest because of the fumes released by the harmful machinery.

  But why is deforestation happening? One of the biggest reasons for the demolition is the need for fresh resources. It is a vital for poor countries in which the rain forests reside utilize them, because it supplies them with fresh water and food, important things they might not have much access to otherwise. It also generates a large majority of their money, as logging is one of their major exports. Although it is essential for the rain forest countries to make use of their resources, deforestation wouldn’t have been blown up to such a large scale if it was only being utilized for that. In past years, deforestation has been thriving for more commercial reasons, such as the need for more money from the trees and resources, and more space for housing estates.

  However, there have been many ways proposed to hinder deforestation. Ecotourism is one of the most popular ideas enacted to contravene the destruction of the rainforest. Ecotourism is defined as environmentally responsible travel to enjoy and appreciate nature and cultural experiences. It should have low impact on the environment and contribute to the wellbeing of local people, as well as spread awareness while providing a 100% sustainable vacation experience. Ecotourism teaches tourists how to keep the earth sustainable. The rainforest lodges are made with treated wood bought from reforestation plants, and built on stilts between trees to protect the vegetation and tree roots under the soil. No heavy machinery is used in production to prevent releasing any Co2, which protects and plants and wildlife. The colors used for lodges are carefully picked to avoid disrupting natural scenery in any way. Only five gallons of solar panel heated water is given per day, garbage is completely recyclable, reusable, and separated into organic matter, and only biodegradable detergents, shampoo, soap, and conditioner are used. Finally, a percentage of income is used to fund environmental and educational projects in the community and support the locals.

  In conclusion, deforestation is a serious problem. It has destroyed 18% of the Amazon, released 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and caused nearly half of the world’s species of plants, animals and microorganisms to be estimated to be gone over the next quarter century. This dilemma can be fixed, however, by donating to rain forest trusts and going on a completely sustainable vacation to an ecotourism supporting rain forest. It slows deforestation and funds educational and environmental community projects for the locals.

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The Effects of Deforestation