The Causes of Deforestation in the Amazon Rain Forest

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The Causes of Deforestation in the Amazon Rain Forest The Amazon Rain Forest crosses several national boundaries in South America, although the majority of it is located in Brazil. It covers over 3,562,000 acres, making it the largest in the world. But globally, over 138,600 acres of rain forest are lost each year to deforestation, 50,000 of those in Brazil alone (Holdsforth), and the world's rain forests are quickly disappearing. Deforestation in the Amazon occurs primarily for three reasons: clear-cutting, fragmentation, and edge effects. The term "deforestation" refers to the clear-cutting of large sections of primary or original-growth forest, which causes the loss of native species of plant and animal life. This clearing of land is mainly due to agricultural needs, such as farming and cattle ranching, but also occurs to support logging and mining companies. The effect of the loss of forest is most obvious in the loss of native species. Eugene Ng, of the Hong Kong Technical Institute, explains that the "destruction of habitat forces species out of areas, or causes them to die." Other factors, according to Ng, "further restrict their range, exposing them to disease and predators." Deforestation does not occur neatly. "Fragmentation" also weakens the rain forest. As large sections of rain forest are cut down by farmers, ranchers, and loggers, those plant and animal species are left to die. If all deforestation occurred along the outside boundaries of the forest, then some of the species could move deeper into the Amazon to survive. But as Mason Skold and Bill Myer explain, fragmentation produces "areas of less than 100 square kilometers which are surrounded by d... ... middle of paper ... ...in Forest and to protect the species who live there must take into account how deforestation occurs. Sources Cited Center for Planetary Studies. "Deforestation Isn't the Real Problem in the Amazon." June 1996. http://www.ctr_planets/Amazon.html (7 June 2003). Holdsforth, J. R. "Deforestation Estimates for Eight National Biozone Regions and Implications." 1990. http://www.biozone_project.html (7 June 2003). Johns, Lucia and Freida Simms. "Deforestation: Global Problems, Programs, and Agreements." Environmental Policy Division, Congressional Research Service. March 1997. http://www.cnie.org/nle/for-4.html (14 June 2003). Ng, Eugene. "Deforestation Affects Diversity." Hong Kong Technical Institute. 1991. http://www.hktech.edu/forests_diversity.html (12 June 2003)
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