According to the Amazon Aid Foundation
According to the Amazon Aid Foundation, Franklin D Roosevelt once said “A
nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” The Amazon Rainforest gives the Earth fresh air and much more, but it is being destroyed. The Amazon rainforest is large. It is found in Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, which is a territory owned by France, and Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. The Amazon is full of forests. The Amazon Rainforest is full of many different animal and plant species. According to the World Wildlife Fund, “In the Amazon Biome you will find: One in ten species known on earth.” (“For a Living Amazon!”). In the Amazon, plants are used for farming, and they are used for medicine. Plants are used for food, too. The rainforest is so diverse, the World Wildlife Fund reported that in the Amazon “at least 1,856 species of higher plants have been discovered.” (“Wonder trees and plants on the world’s poorest soils”). Unfortunately, numerous threats such as deforestation, poaching, and mining have been ravaging the face of the Amazon Rainforest.
First, one impact that is destroying the Amazon is deforestation. Deforestation
is when numerous trees are cut down in a specific area for a certain purpose. The Amazon is full of plants and trees, but deforestation may end them all. Unfortunately, the World Wildlife Fund reported that “20% of the Amazon biome has already been lost and the trend will worsen if gone unchecked. Deforestation is continuing quickly. Most of it has been caused by Brazil. Bolivia and Peru are also causing more damage to the Amazon. Trees in the Amazon are being cut down so roads can be built. Deforestation takes place more often in places with roads. Soy farms and cattle ranching have also contributed to deforestation in the Amazon. Also, water and moisture that comes from trees in the Amazon may go elsewhere, which could cause droughts due to a decrease in rainfall. Places that have been affected by deforestation will experience more fires, too. (“Amazon Deforestation”). If deforestation continues, it could end the Amazon.
Next, The Amazon is losing its biodiversity and animals due to poaching.
Poaching is when humans kill endangered animals in a certain area illegally. Poaching in the Amazon is very damaging to the ecosystem and environment, even if it may not be as bad as poaching in other regions and areas (“Illegal Wildlife Trade in the Amazon”-1). One type of animal in the Amazon that is hunted and captured by poachers are birds. Poachers sometimes kill them so they can sell body parts or feathers, and sometimes they keep the birds alive. Poachers also steal eggs and sell them. One bird that is sold is the blue-throated macaw. Another animal that is sold on the market are reptiles. Their skins are sold by poachers and traffickers. Certain items like clothes and shoes are made using the skin of certain reptile species. Some people like to have reptiles as pets, too (“Illegal Wildlife Trade in the Amazon”). Some animal species might die off due to too much poaching or trafficking. Unfortunately, the want for animals from the Amazon has risen (“Illegal Wildlife Trade in the Amazon”-1). The Paiche is a large turtle that comes from rivers in the Amazon. Unfortunately, poachers are illegally hunting it and the Amazon Manatee. Some creatures that live in the Amazon are killed, their body parts used for different products and for food (“Threats Facing the Amazon”). If poaching continues, many species could go extinct.
Another impact that is destroying the Amazon is mining. Mining is when
minerals or other resources are removed from the environment. There are many rare and useful minerals in the Amazon Rainforest. Gold and iron ore are just two examples. There will probably be more mining due to more advanced mining machinery. Water pollution can occur when certain substances from a mine come in contact with water. This can do harm to people that live in or near the Amazon. Mercury is a dangerous substance that is used when gold is mined. Some fish have been found with large amounts of it in them. The World Wildlife Fund reported that “For example, 90% of fish caught by rural villagers south of gold mining areas of the Tapajós River in Brazil were found to be contaminated with methyl mercury.” (“Amazon Mining”). Also, Illegal miners destroy trees in the Amazon once they have found areas where there is gold. This disturbs the ecosystem, and it may be a problem for plants and animals who rely on certain trees (“Illegal Gold Mining”). Deadly fights and battles can take place on native lands where illegal mining is present. Problems like these have happened before. If they get too extreme, the Brazilian government may have to get involved (“Amazon Mining”). As you can see, mining is destroying the Amazon beneath and above.
Although there are many problems facing the Amazon, there are many
solutions. Many problems are destroying the Amazon Rainforest. A solution to deforestation is that South American countries could help spread knowledge about the destruction of the rainforest. Spreading knowledge about native tribes and other residents of the rainforest and respecting them is also important (“Amazon Mining”). Supporting the protection of rainforests can lower the release of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Protecting the rainforests also protects the wildlife. Trying to help and support the forests of the Amazon could help end deforestation. Climate change also will slow down (“What We Do: Creating Incentives to Stop Deforestation”). Poaching remains a problem because there are still people buying products that have been made illegally in the Amazon. If these buyers stop purchasing items that have been illegally made, poaching may decrease. People are starting to find out what they are
buying (Schleeter). If consumers find out what they are purchasing, poaching could end. Also, one way to end gold mining is by giving miners different, safer, legal jobs. For example, a job in the ecotourism business. Finding ways to clean up the damage mercury has done is also a good way to help the rainforest. Just like poaching, buyers need to know what they are purchasing so they don’t end up supporting illegal mining. If they find out, illegal industries like mining could die out (Gonzalez). Although the Amazon is still facing many threats, Merry, a research associate from the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation stated that “Fortunately, beyond these examples of our work, many Virginia Tech scientists are playing an important role in understanding the pressures facing this vital resource.”