In this page we offer some background on the Amazon and deforestation. All information (with references) is found on Wikipedia and other websites, where we refer to in our text.
This basin encompasses 7,000,000 square kilometres of which 5,500,000 square kilometres are covered by the rainforest. This region includes territory belonging to nine nations. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with 60% of the rainforest, followed by Peru with 13%, Colombia with 10%, and with minor amounts in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. States or departments in four nations contain “Amazonas” in their names. The Amazon represents over half of the planet’s remaining rainforests, and comprises the largest and most biodiverse tract of tropical rainforest in the world, with an estimated 390 billion individual trees divided into 16,000 species.
Deforestation is the conversion of forested areas to non-forested areas. The main sources of deforestation in the Amazon are human settlement and development of the land. The soils in the Amazon are productive for just a short period of time, so farmers are constantly moving to new areas and clearing more land. These farming practices led to deforestation and caused extensive environmental damage. Deforestation is considerable, and areas cleared of forest are visible to the naked eye from outer space.
In the 1970s construction began on the Trans-Amazonian highway. This highway represented a major threat to the Amazon rainforest. Fortunately for the rainforest, the highway has not been completed, hereby reducing the environmental damage.
Between 1991 and 2000, the total area of forest lost in the Amazon rose from 415,000 to 587,000 square kilometres, with most of the lost forest becoming pasture for cattle. Seventy percent of formerly forested land in the Amazon, and 91% of land deforested since 1970, is used for livestock pasture. The mean annual deforestation rate from 2000 to 2005 (22,392 km2 p year) was 18% higher than in the previous five years (19,018 km2 per year). Although deforestation has declined significantly in the Brazilian Amazon between 2004 and 2014, there has been an increase to the present day.
Most people assume that burning oil and gas causes global warming. But in fact between 25 and 30 percent of the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere each year – 1.6 billion tonnes – is caused by deforestation. ….Trees are 50 percent carbon. When they are felled or burned, the C02 they store escapes back into the air. According to FAO figures, some 13 million ha of forests worldwide are lost every year, almost entirely in the tropics. Deforestation remains high in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. (reference www.FAO.org).
Although many worldwide organisations and politicians are working on solving the climate treats,(Reference: http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6034), every small initiative from people around the world can help save our mother planet.