Rainforest Destruction

Photo: Nasa Earth Observatory
Photo: Nasa Earth Observatory

There are many reasons the Amazon rainforest is being destroyed, but if you take a closer look all of them share the same principle, profit. For someone that is exploiting the forest and destroying it in the process there is nothing that will change their minds unless they find a more profitable business. Although this is a sad statement it is true and well known. But the local population usually can’t fully understand the environmental issues and how they can affect other people’s lives. They lack information and education, and although this can be solved with special environmental education programs, this doesn’t solve the problem if you don’t provide a means for the people to survive. Take that and the fact that the Amazon population is actually small for the area the forest covers and you will see that the problem is not the local population, but they are just instruments in hands of profit mongers.

The businesses that are destroying the forest are also well known. The two that are the most responsible for the actual deforestation occurring in the Amazon rainforest are agriculture and cattle. Both activities need land to prosper and all other regions in Brazil are already saturated, there is no place for new crops or more cattle if, and only if, the producers keep using the same old techniques. This is truer with the cattle industry that still uses very inefficient processes.

Another business that affects the forest is the wood sector. Where there is legal reserves for wood the activity doesn’t create much damage, the illegal cutting is devastating. Since most of the wood is exported, the buying countries should always require the proper certifications, which can proof the origin of the wood if its from a legal reserve. This would be a very effective way to make this problem a lower deforestation factor. Illegal mining also create a lot of problems by polluting the rivers with toxic substances used in the mining process.

What needs to be done is to create development possibilities that have high sustainability for the region. This is not a trivial task, but is not impossible either. Take for instance the researches on medicinal plants. Although these researches are good, they need to help protect the Amazon rainforest. This is a simple conclusion if you think how much needs to be researched and how fast the Amazon rainforest is being destroyed.

Additionally there is a lot of illegal trade of biological species. There are two kinds of illegal biological trade; one is for living animals that go to private collections, usually in Europe and United States . The other goes to laboratories for research, again, this usually happens in Europe and United States where the big pharmacy corporations have their headquarters. The first one just needs to stop. Brazilian police in the last few years have improved the surveillance and control of this kind of crime. Additionally something should be done to stop the importation in the Europe , US and any other country that have private dealers of living animals (usually endangered species). It’s very hard to control this crime when someone offers to a poor local individual US$ 200 for a Capuchin Monkey or a Macaw, as this is more money than most of the people living in the Amazon rainforest earn in a year. So, the demand for these animals should also be fought in the receptors country where the demand exists. The other kind of illegal biological trade is for laboratories all over the world. It’s difficult to understand why a laboratory can’t pay for the knowledge and plant species they use in their research, as we are talking about a billion dollar international industry. Doing illegal trade or paying very low prices for it makes their profit even higher, but also don’t help to protect the Amazon rainforest at all

So, the Amazon rainforest is being destroyed just like all the other forests in the world, including the ones in Europe, Asia, North America and Africa and there will be nothing able to stop this process unless a strategy is developed that has the environmental condition as a factor of wealth and well being. This sustainable development should integrate the forest and its people in one single system where one depends on the other to survive and maintain their features, natural features for the forest, and cultural features for the people.

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