The Amazon Gets Less and Less Green

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In a world threatened by its own carbon footprint, the forests of the Amazon are its largest absorber of carbon dioxide. Satellites have shown beyond doubt that deforestation in the Brazil’s Amazon jungle has reached a dramatic level. The authorities have announced a package of measures aimed at halting this tragedy several years ago without any significant result.

The main sources of deforestation in the Amazon forest are human settlement and development of the land. In the nine years, 1991−2000, the total area of Amazon rainforest cleared rose from 415,000 km² to 587,000 km². Most of this lost forest has been replaced with pasture for cattle.

Using the 2005 rain forest deforestation rates, it was estimated that the Amazon Rain forest would be reduced by 40% in the next two decades. Although the rate of deforestation is now slowing, the forest is still shrinking. Norwegian Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, announced on 16 September 2008, that the Norwegian Government would donate USD 1 billion to the newly established Amazon fund in fighting deforestation. The money from this fund will go to a series of projects aimed at slowing down the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.

Green groups called for a law that completely bans deforestation in the region. However, they believe the Government's commitment to the cause is questionable to an extent because it needs the income from Brazil's booming agriculture sector. Brazil is the world's biggest beef and soy exporter and it leads the global race to turn sugarcane into fuel. When commodities as soy, beef and grains are sought after on world markets, farmers have more incentive to hack away and create fields.

It is a sad fact that almost 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from tropical deforestation, which is more than that resulting from all the world’s cars, trucks, trains, ships, and airplanes combined. In fact, it is fair to say that you cannot slow global warming if you do not do the same for forest destruction; and that means preserving Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.

References

www.time.com

http://www.edf.org

http://www.mongabay.com

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