HomeUncategorizedDeforestation in Brazil: Amazon Forest is the world's lung

Deforestation in Brazil: Amazon Forest is the world’s lung

Deforestation is currently one of humanity’s greatest challenges. Deforestation in Brazil is more than concerning. Brazil has the greatest tropical forest in the world and Amazon Forest is the main hope on climate change.

Brazilian deforestation

When it comes to forests, the problem is related to everybody. Brazil has the gorgeous and strong Amazon Forest – that was the Amazon store name inspiration – and needs to be careful with this humankind asset.

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Deforestation is a process of degradation of the native vegetation of a region and can cause a desertification process.

The abusive use of planet natural resources, the air and seas pollution, and urban development are some of the dangerous factors that threat natural environments such as Brazilian forests. The main guilty? Humans.

Also called deforestation or deforestation, deforestation is one of today’s most serious environmental problems.

For besides devastating the forests and natural resources, it compromises the balance of the planet in its various elements, including the ecosystems, also seriously affecting the economy and society.

In Brazil, there is a growing concern about the deforestation of the Amazon.

Deforestation in Brazil

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Brazil is the country with the second largest vegetation cover in the world, second only to Russia.

However, deforestation is significantly reducing the vegetation cover in the Brazilian territory.

Approximately 20 thousand square kilometers of native vegetation are deforested every year as a result of felling and fires.

In the 18th century it was possible to observe a worldwide and large-scale deforestation, completely accelerated.

Just like other tropical countries that suffer from large-scale deforestation, in Brazil the main causes are:

  • Agricultural activities, responsible for 80% of deforestation worldwide;
  • Advance of urbanization;
  • Commercial exploitation of wood.

Deforestation of the Amazon Forest

Currently the Brazilian Amazon Forest is the area that suffers most from deforestation.

According to the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), in the month of June 2020, there was deforestation in an area of the Amazon Forest of 1,034.4 km², equivalent to the city of Belém in Pará.

The number is 10.6% higher than that recorded in the same month in 2019 and the highest ever recorded in the last five years.

In the last 2 years, 7.5 thousand km² of forest areas were flagged as places where deforestation was occurring. This represents a 64% increase in deforested area compared to the 11-month period ended June 2019, and a 112% increase compared to the same period ended 2018.

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In other words, deforestation rates with a very relevant index.

Here you can check the deforestation in Brazil progress through the laste 18 years.

Amazon Forest – Deforestation
YearTotal in km²
Source: snif.florestal.gov.br

With this, farmers, cattle ranchers or miners who want to exploit the area set fire to the tree stumps that are left on the ground (the hardwoods, in general, have already been removed by equally illegal loggers).

With the charred and quite fragile roots, all that is needed is to use tractors with chains to level the ground and wipe out all evidence that the place was once home to native forest.

Fires are a common way of preparing the land for planting.

So if a surveyor sees a fire, it is easy for the new occupant of the land to argue that he has always had a productive farm there and that this is just the latest fire to clear the way for the new season.

Deforestation in Brazil causes

Deforestation can be caused by some natural factors, but at the current levels, only human activity can be responsible for so much devastation.

The causes can be many, but generally include the need to exploit the forests for economic gain, such as obtaining timber, fruit, fiber, and other marketable products.

Urban expansion is also responsible for deforestation, especially in the most populated areas. This was the case in the Atlantic Forest and in most of the exploitations recently seen around the world.

Deforestation around the world

Over time, we have observed the increase in deforestation around the world. The countries that are now considered developed were the ones that deforested the most in order to obtain economic advantages

Today, developing countries are the main responsible for deforestation in the world such as;

  • Indo-Burma forests (Asia-Pacific);
  • New Zealand (Oceania);
  • Sunda (Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei-Asia-Pacific);
  • Philippines (Asia-Pacific);
  • Atlantic Rainforest (South America);
  • Mountains of South-Central China (Asia);
  • California Floristic Province (North America);
  • Coastal Forests of East Africa (Africa);
  • Madagascar and Indian Ocean Islands (Africa);

What are the deforestation effects?

As could not be otherwise, the deforestation process brings with it several very serious consequences for the environment and the very life of human beings. Among them, we can mention:

Global climate change

The forest’s capacity to absorb the pollutant carbon dioxide (CO2) is reduced, and our carbon footprint becomes worse. At the same time, there is a greater presence of CO2 released by burning trees, which makes more difficult to fight climate change.

Loss of the standard rainfall cycle

Deforestation reduces the hydrological services provided by trees, which are fundamental. In Brazil, some of the water vapor that emanates from the forests is transported by the wind to the Center-South regions, where most of the country’s agricultural activity is located.

Loss of biodiversity

Deforestation causes a loss in biodiversity, that is, species lose their habitat or cannot survive in the small forest fragments that remain.

The populations of plants, animals and microorganisms are weakened and eventually some may become extinct.

Even localized deforestation can result in the loss of species, due to the high degree of endemism, that is, the presence of species that only exist within a given geographical area.

Habitat degradation

New highways, which allow people and loggers to reach the heart of the Amazon Basin, have caused a general fragmentation in the tropical rainforest.

Species structure and composition suffer the effect of this landscape fragmentation, and so does the microclimate.

Such landscape fragments are more vulnerable to droughts and forest fires changes that negatively affect a wide variety of animal species.

Social effects

As forests shrink, people are less able to enjoy the benefits of the natural resources that these ecosystems provide. This translates into more poverty, and in some cases these people may need to move away and look for other areas to secure their livelihoods.

Spread of diseases

Research conducted by Stanford University has analyzed the relationships between primates and humans living around the Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda.

The study indicates that the deforestation of the forests, which give way to agricultural fields, makes room for the introduction of new viruses into society. As animals lose their habitats, they become closer to humans and can transmit new diseases to us.

That’s why is so important to invest a lot in reforestation, as well as the monitoring and protection of tropical forests.

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