A Look Into Amazonia Tropical Deforestation Ross Pysh Susan Johnson Rachel Ross Outline Hypothesis Deforestation and Biodiversity Climate Change and the Global Carbon Cycle Social and Political Aspects Possible Solutions Conclusion Hypothesis The destruction of the tropical rainforests, predominately in Amazonia, will substantially affect the biodiversity of the area and will alter various trends in the global carbon cycle. The extent and time scale of tropical rainforest destruction will depend on the social and political decisions governing the system and we believe potential solutions are not out of reach. Deforestation 150 acres of rainforest are lost every minute, vanishing at a rate of nearly 20,000 square miles a year. (Taylor) http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/images/0409-02.jpg Biodiversity Biodiversity is the variety and variability of living organisms and the ecological complexes in which they occur. (Allen) Today, tropical forests cover about 7% of the earth’s surface, but are thought to contain 50% of the world’s biodiversity. (Kling) Fragmentation “Species and ecosystems are threatened with destruction to an extent rarely seen in earths history” (Allen) http://books.nap.edu/books/0309037395/html/20.htm l Much of this extinction Is caused by habitat loss and one culprit is fragmentation. Value of Biodiversity One acre of land-Sustainably harvested yields $2400. -Cut for lumber earns $400 -Raising cattle on the land $60. (Taylor) http://www.rainforestandreef.org/images/photos/peru_low/rainforest_square_250.jpg -265,000 species of plants in the tropical forests -Only 3% have been tested for medicinal value. -Of this 3%, 25% of the medicines we have available to us today have been derived. (Taylor) Climate Change Deforestation of the rainforest affects the global carbon cycle which is ultimately contributing to global warming. (Kling Lectures) (Kling Lectures) Stella Model – Global Change 1 (Lab 13) Why is Bad Cutting - 5,102,945,952 years Cutting and Burning- 5,098, 627.787 years Respiration! The difference- 5,097,847,324 years. Nutrient and Water Cycles • Slash and Burn is extremely damaging to these cycles. • Most of the Nutrients in Tropical Rainforests are within the biomass. • Runoff removes nutrients from the system. Social Aspects • The greatest cause of tropical rainforest destruction today comes from human activities (60%), which unlike natural damage, are unrelenting and extremely thorough. (Mongabay) • Landless peasants are forced to inhabit the only free land available: the forest, because of a monopoly of productive land in the south. (ROA) Social Policies • Very easy to acquire land rights. Squatters gain rights by using the land for only a year and a day. (Mongabay) • After 5 years of land use the squatter gains ownership of the land and up until the mid 90’s ownership was granted to a plot of land 3 times what was actually cleared by the user. (Mongabay) Political Aspects • Debt is a major driving force behind deforestation. (Mongabay) • Government subsidies and tax incentives offered to people to develop land. (ROA) • Don’t have the money to implement and enforce environmental policies. IBAMA Brazil’s environmental protection agency was only given 9.5 million to police the biggest expanse of tropical wilderness in the world. (Mongabay) Political cont… • The government has strong alliances with the powerful elites, with no tradition of opposing influential economic interests. (Moran) • Government projects like the Trans Amazonian Highway opens the forest up to peasant settlement by offering a lot of incentives and grants easy access to its resources. (Mongabay) • Bulk of subsidized credit in Brazil goes toward the development of large scale properties. (Moran) Potential Solutions Aide from developed nations-.04% of the GDP (6-8 billion dollars) of industrialized countries goes towards conservation related activities. (Tobey) -The same countries spend 125 billion dollars a year on their militaries. (Cunningham) Conclusions There are many possible solutions that could be implemented in the Amazon but all take a lot of effort and capital from both the developed and developing countries. Social and political aspects are the major players in this situation and the first step to curving deforestation is to address these. References • • • • • • • • • • • Allen, David. 2005. Threats to Global Biodiversity. Global Change II Lectures. University of Michigan. Cunningham, William and Mary and Barbara Saigo. 2005. Environmental Science A Global Concern. McGraw-Hill. New York. http://www.rainforestandreef.org/images/photos/peru_low/rainforest_squa re_250.jpg http://books.nap.edu/books/0309037395/html/20.html http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/images/0409-02.jpg Kling, George. 2004. Tropical Forests. Global Change I Lectures. University of Michigan. Mongabay. http://rainforest.mongabay.com/amazon/20brazil.htm Moran, Emilio. 1999. The Law, Politics, and Economics of Amazon Deforestation. http://www.ecotourism.org.hk/other%20files/Amazonian%20deforestation. doc (ROA) The Rape of the Amazon. http://homepage.mac.com/voyager/gta/amaz.html Taylor, Joy and Wayne Stuppel. 2004. Amazon Rainforest – More Valuable Alive than Dead. Appropriate Technology. Vol. 31. Iss. 1; p. 40. Tobey, James. 1993. Toward a Global Effort to Protect the Earth’s Biological Diversity. World Development. Vol. 21. No. 12. pp. 1931-1945.