The mighty Amazon rainforest may have stood the test of time. Millions of years of changes right from the beginning up to even the deadliest of natural calamities. But it won’t last for the next hundreds of years due to human activity especially in the deforestation. Since, we, humans, become the most potent agent of destruction this great biodiversity. And it gradually succumbs to its demise as the years’ pass.
Deforestation is the leading cause of why Amazon’s land area becomes smaller and smaller. Just recently, almost 8,000 square kilometers of the Amazon rainforest was lost due to deforestation. Within only a period of one year (August 2017 to July 2018) a more significant part of the Amazon’s region was destroyed. And it is even more significant than the countries of Belgium and Switzerland when combined.
Causes of Deforestation
Illegal loggers primarily cause deforestation in the Amazon. Cutting down those trees as well, which takes even a hundred years to grow. Farmers also contribute to a large portion of this issue by taking down broad areas of land to farm crops. Deforestation even gets worse in the later part of the 20th century. Due to advances in technology, it is easier to clear out forested regions in a short period. By the beginning of the 21st century, more than half of this deforested area in the Amazon is due to cattle-ranching.
There is a rapid change in the Amazon in the last 50 years. Especially since the higher demand for soy and cattle for food. Other areas of the Amazon were clear out to make way for dams, mining, and settlement projects as well. It is producing new commodities for people who live around the area. With these commodities also comes road projects that run through the rainforest, which disturbs local fauna. And cutting down centuries-old trees along the path.
Deforestation of Amazon: Illegal Logging Issues
It is true that countries with territories within the rainforest have designated areas where they authorized controlled logging. Illegal logging is still widespread, albeit having strict laws against it. A Brazilian commission conducted a study and showed that most logging activities during the 90s were unlawful. And only 1 of the 13 investigated companies followed the law. The Colombian government also assesses their illegal logging issues and found out that up to 90% of all forest clearing is still unlawful. Although, unlawful logging practices have been reduced in Colombia for years now. However, illegal smuggling of timber is still prominent.
Actions Taken By Authorities
Law enforcement agencies, especially Brazil, are making drastic actions and preventive measure to catch and penalize illegal loggers within their borders. The Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) are relentless in hunting down suspected illicit loggers and implementing strict laws against it.
Brazil also announced that they are planning to reduce the country’s deforestation rate by 80 percent by the year 2020. Within five years (Between 2005 and 2010), Brazil almost met its promised goal. An impressive rate of 67 percent reduction, this means dropping Brazil’s deforestation rate. About 19,500 square kilometers per year (1996-2005) to a remarkable 6,451 square kilometers were reduced. In result of that, it is reducing the country’s global warming pollution to around 1 million tons.
Albeit being poorly equipped to carry out its task, IBAMA still pursues to stop these illegal activities and to protect the rainforest. The Amazon Fund, an international fundraising event with the goal of acquiring donations to fight deforestation, will provide around BRL 56 million (about $15 million) to help enhance the situation. The funds come from different sources around the world, especially from Norway and Germany.
The world’s rainforest, especially in the Amazon, is the planet’s respiratory system. Without these, we would have lesser oxygen concentration in the air that we breathe. It is thus increasing the effects of global warming. Helping and supporting laws against illegal logging and deforestation will give significant changes. Not just on the countries within its territory but also for the whole world. It is time to take action for the future of our planet, and even for the next generations to come.