Climate

Deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest

Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest is a concerning issue in today’s society. More trees are being cut down every day than ever before. Thousands of square kilometres are being cut down each year. In recent years cattle-ranching in the Amazon regions has produced catastrophic results.

the nile river in the amazon rainforest. affected by deforstation.
Overhead view of the nile river.

Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest needs to be brought to the attention of the world. We need to protect one of the most diverse habitats on earth. Together with raising awareness about the issue.

What is the Amazon

The Amazon is located in South America and spreads into nine different countries the main ones being Brazil, Peru, and Columbia.

The Amazons border stretches 7,000,000 km2 (2,700,000 sq mi) and roughly 5,500,000 km2 (2,100,000 sq mi) are covered by the rainforest.

The Amazon rainforest accounts for more than half of all the rainforests on this planet. It is home to the largest and most diverse rainforest ecosystem in the world. With over 16,000 species of trees.

Map of the border of the Amazon Rainforest

What is Happening to the Amazon

Hundreds of millions of acres of land are being cut down for timber each year. This number is only growing. At this rate, we are going to loose the last of the worlds largest remaining rainforest.

We need to act and spread awareness about what is happening and how we can help. Deforestation is a human activity that affects climate change and the environment. Trees absorb Co2 and release oxygen. So the more trees cut down means the more oxygen is not going to be released into the atmosphere. Then there will be more co2 which creates climate change by heating up the surface of the earth.

Amazon Rainforest Map

map of the amazon rainforest
Map of the Amazon and which countries it branches off into

The Amazon rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world and contains over half of all the rainforests on earth. There has been estimated about 400 billion individual trees throughout the Amazon. The rainforest itself covers 5,500,000 km2 (2,100,000 sq mi) of land.

You can see on the above map that the Amazon stems off into many different countries.

Which Countries does the Amazon Rainforest Cover

The Amazons reach is so widespread that it touches 9 countries. Most of the rainforest covers Brazil. It’s been estimated to contain 60% of the rainforest in it. Then Peru covers the second most with 13%. Followed by Columbia having 10%. The last 17% is split among 6 nations, they are Venezuela, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, Bolivia, and France.

The amazon rainforest
Amazon Rainforest

What is Deforestation

What is the exact definition of deforestation?

Deforestation refers to the clearance, clearing, and/or clearcutting is the destruction and removal of a forest or stands of trees from the land. This land is then switched for non-forest use. These uses include farms, cattle ranches, and urban development.

The most concentrated deforestation occurs in rainforests. The biggest rainforest in the world is the Amazon so therefore the deforestation there is the most intense than anywhere in the world.

Demonstrating how Deforestation Works

Deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest Facts

Scientists and researchers have put an estimate of the amount of rainforest that has been lost. Between 1978 and now, over 750,000 square kilometres (289,000 square miles) of the Amazon rainforest has been lost due to deforestation.

Deforestation in the Amazon was fueled by a few main reasons. The first being the industrial revolution beginning in the 19th century where large scale industrial activities and big agriculture projects were present. Following this was the industrial revolution started the loss of forest were now experiencing today.

deforestation of the amazon rainforest
Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest

But the main culprit since the 20th century has been cattle ranching. The estimate is over 75% of all the deforestation occurring in the Amazon rainforest is due to cattle ranching.

According to The Global Forest Atlas: Cattle ranching in the Amazon accounts for 80% of all the deforestation rates. The Amazon in Brazil is home to approximately 200 million heads of cattle. They are the largest exporter in the world, supplying around one-quarter of the entire global market.

Effects of Deforestation on the Amazon

The deforestation of the Amazon has caused a significant impact on the world and environment.

Overhead view of the deforestation.
Overhead view of the Amazon. You can see the deforestation.

According to a team of researchers led by Lancaster University. They discovered that selective logging and surface wildfires (methods for deforestation) could result in annual losses of up to 54 billion tonnes of carbon. This just from the Brazilian Amazon alone. This would, therefore, increase greenhouse gas emissions.

Equivalent to 40% of the global yearly carbon loss from deforestation.

The study was the largest of its kind, based on data from 70,000 sampled trees and other dependent factors.

How Rainforests Impact our Planet

Amazon rainforest climate change effects

Check out 10 ways to reduce your carbon footprint to help slow climate change!

megadrought affected the amazon rainforest
Megadrought that affected the Amazon rainforest

Nasa Scientists did a research study on how Climate change over the past few decades has affected the Amazon rainforest. They found in the summer of 2005, a megadrought had hit the Amazon rainforest. Approximately 270,000 square miles (700,000 square kilometres) of pristine forest in southwestern Amazonia experienced an intense and long-lasting severe drought.

This ‘megadrought” produced large scale damages to the forest canopy. Advanced satellites detected these damages. The graph shows what climate change did to the Amazon rainforest. The graph suggests that there were widespread diebacks of tree branches, trees falling, and overall dieoffs. The most affected were older trees that were susceptible to droughts. These are the trees that blanket the forest.

Check out this article to see what effects climate change causes – What does Climate change mean? What Climate change causes.

So we have two human activities affecting the Amazon. The first being humans destroying the land via deforestation for huge agricultural cattle ranches. While this just accounts for roughly 80% of the deforestation.

Then we have climate change – caused by human activities releasing carbon emissions into the atmosphere. This is causing global environmental changes. Like the megadrought that occurred in 2005. When these impacts are combined catastrophic consequences will follow like we are already seeing.

Government policies that saved the rainforest

Government policies began to be put in place to stop the deforestation in the Amazon. International organizations in 2004 started funnelling money into the rainforest cause.

Did this ever help it?

Because of the awareness and government intervention, it did help. But some things didn’t go to plan. Check out the video to learn why.

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