Save The Amazon Rainforest Essay

Rainbow over the Amazon. Click image for more information. (Photo by R. Butler)




Review questions:

  • How should rainforests be protected?
  • How can we save rainforests?
  • Why is saving tropical rainforests a challenge?
  • Why do national parks often fail to protect rainforests?
  • Why is economics important in conservation?

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Continued / Next: Saving Rainforests Through Sustainable Development—Agriculture

  • The quotation at the beginning of the chapter is taken from Schaller, G.B., "Tibet's Hidden Wilderness : Wildlife and Nomads of the Chang Tang Reserve," New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1998.
  • Statistics for rainforest cover and deforestation during the 1980s comes from State of the World's Forests 1999 (SOFO) published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Myers, N. "Nature's Greatest Heritage Under Threat," Rainforests-The Illustrated Library of the Earth, Norman Myers, ed., Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 1993.

    Agriculture
  • The background for agriculture in the tropical rainforest draws heavily from T. Nishizawa and J. I. Uitto, eds. (The Fragile Tropics of Latin America: Sustainable Management of Changing Environments, New York: United Nations University Press, 1995) and Smith, N.J.H. et al., Amazonia - Resiliency and Dynamism of the Land and its People, New York: United Nations University Press, 1995. The study which suggests nearly 12% of terre firme forests in the Amazon are anthropogenic is found in Balée, W., "The culture of Amazonian forests," Advances in Economic Botany 7: 1-21, 1989.
  • Myers, N. estimated in "Nature's Greatest Heritage Under Threat," Rainforests-The Illustrated Library of the Earth, Norman Myers, ed., Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 1993 that roughly 60% of deforestation is caused by the shifted cultivator.
  • Skewed land distribution is discussed in Wood, C.H. and M. Schmink, "Blaming the victim: Small farmer production in an Amazon colonization project," Studies in Third World Societies 7: 77-93, 1978; Myers, N. "Nature's Greatest Heritage Under Threat," Rainforests-The Illustrated Library of the Earth, Norman Myers, ed., Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 1993; and Smith, N.J.H. et al., Amazonia - Resiliency and Dynamism of the Land and its People, New York: United Nations University Press, 1995.
  • Padoch, C., J. Chota Inurna, W. de Jong, and J. Unruh, "Amazonian agroforestry: A market-oriented system in Peru" Agroforestry Systems 3: 47-58, 1985; Nair, P. K., "State-of-the-art of agroforestry systems," Forest Ecology and Management 45: 5-29, 1991; T. Nishizawa and J. I. Uitto, eds. (The Fragile Tropics of Latin America: Sustainable Management of Changing Environments, New York: United Nations University Press, 1995) and Smith, N.J.H. et al., Amazonia - Resiliency and Dynamism of the Land and its People, New York: United Nations University Press, 1995 discuss polycultural techniques in the rainforest including agroforestry and examines the highly dynamic nature of traditional agriculture in the Amazon.
  • Greenberg, R. et al., "Bird Populations in Shade and Sun Coffee Plantations in Central Guatemala," Conservation Biology Vol. 11 No. 24 (48-59), Apr. 1997, demonstrate higher biodiversity under agroforestry systems (shade coffee plantations) than conventional coffee plantations.
  • Home gardens in Amazonia are presented in Smith, N.J.H., "Strategies for sustainable agriculture in the humid tropics," Ecological Economics 2: 311 -323, 1990 and Smith, N.J.H. et al., Amazonia - Resiliency and Dynamism of the Land and its People, New York: United Nations University Press, 1995.
  • The failure of many Indonesian transmigrant agriculture programs as a result of a lack of planning and administration is discussed in Brookfield, H., Potter, L., and Byron, Y., In Place of the Forest: Environmental and Socio-economic Transformation in Borneo and the Eastern Malay Peninsula (New York: United Nations University Press, 1995),
  • Myers, N. ("The world's forests: problems and potentials." Environmental Conservation 23 (2) p. 158-168. 1996) estimates the population of subsistence farmers dependent on tropical forests at more than 600 million and projects their growth rate at 4-6% per year.
  • Save The Rainforest! Essay

    We are supposed to be good stewards of this earth while we are still living on it. God gave us this planet to inhabit and have dominion over everything on and in it. That means that we are responsible for keeping it clean, for protecting it from harm or depletion and we have to preserve and replenish the earth.
    It is sad to say but humans have played their part in deteriorating the earth. We have polluted and killed the very thing that takes care of us. If you ride by any lake or river you find trash and debris around it. In the “The Call of the Wild” the author says that we have committed war against the earth by the dumping of poisons and explosives upon it (337). Unfortunately, plastics are the things that are doing the most harm to our environment. Plastics are convenient and we use them everyday and these are the things that we find in the oceans, rivers and lakes. They are harmful to the earth as well as human health by directly intoxicating us with lead, cadmium and mercury. Plastic debris laced with harmful chemicals are often found inside of our marine life and can poison them. Plastic can survive for thousands of years and many invasive species are found in them which can disrupt our habitats. We need to limit our consumption of plastics and make sure that they are disposed of in their proper places.
    Scientists have begun to say that we have to do more to protect our ecosystem, because our very existence is depending upon it. When the ecosystem is not functioning properly the continuation of plant, animal and human life ecosystems would be impossible. Life cycles can not function without ecosystems. The ecosystem provides us with clean air, water, habitats for fish and other services. They also aid in the modernization of weather, they help vegetation and crops, fertilize the soil, protect the coast from erosion, stabilize the climate, detoxify waste and move or scatter nutrients and seeds from one place to another. Without a healthy ecosystem we have more lung diseases from breathing in toxic air, fewer food choices and a host of other problems.
    Industrialization is one of the main causes of the ecosystem breaking down, because we are constantly cutting down trees to build things or herd cattle. Less than a 150 years ago the earth was covered with forests and wild lands, which supported most of the ecosystems on earth above the oceans surface. The ecosystem has been exploited for land development and agribusiness and as a result our planet is fragile. As we read in “Eco-Defense” the American wilderness is undergoing an attack by bulldozers, earth movers, chainsaws and dynamite. This is done just so Americans can bash their way through the forests, mountains and rangelands for the sake of short term profits (344).
    The rainforests are equally important to maintaining mother earth. The tropical rainforests are one our largest single most terrestrial source of air that we breathe. The...

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