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I am writing to inform you of the great destruction of the rainforests within Brazil, and to explain why this is a problem and what can be done about it.

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The Rainforest is being destroyed at a n alarming rate of around 1 hectare of forest lost per minute. If this rate of destruction continues there may not be a rainforest in 30-50 yrs. It is important that the rainforest is not lost, as it is a habitat for many creatures that can not survive anywhere else. It is also the native Indians home where they have lived for many centuries, they live in the forest producing crops and keeping live stock but not destroying the Forest. There is also many plants that cure illnesses and diseases that grow in it, there is also hope for miracle cures for cancer and the such like which need to be researched in to. From the Amazon basin alone there is half of the worlds oxygen produced.

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The rainforest is being cleared by numerous groups of people for many different reasons. Some of the reasons are logging, hydro electricity and dam building, mining – minerals, gold, silver, iron bauxite and diamonds, cattle ranching, single crop plantations, road building and substance farming and cash crop production.

There is a demand for hard woods such as timber and the more expensive woods like Mahogany, especially from more developed countries such as ours. The land is often completely cleared and cannot naturally grow back, when a large tree is felled the smaller trees surrounding it are crushed and destroyed. Roads such as the trans-Amaziona create even easier access to the forest for logging, mining and farming, etc. In the future roads are going to lead to pollution in the forest. Two- thirds of the Cattle ranching that takes place in the amazon is owned by Large companies in America causing great expanses of the rainforest to be cleared as grazing area. The meat that is produced on the land goes back to whichever country ( mainly America) as meat.

Many problems arise from chopping the rainforest down. It is particularly bad for certain people and animals. May of the creatures and plants that live/grow in the rainforest cannot survive anywhere else in the world. If their habitat is destroyed then they wild die out with it. This is all ready happening, there is only one Spinx Macaw left in the wild. It would also effect the Indians that have lived in the forest for centuries, they have “slashed and burned” small parts of forest just enough to live and farm on, they farm if for three to five years leave it to rejuvenate then come back .

There are other affects to the rainforest such as the loss of medical research into the rainforests plants and the loss of existing plants, that cure disease and illnesses such as “cinchona” which can cure malaria. Scientist also hope to find many cures from unknown plants that could lead to a cure for AIDS or cancer. There are growing fears of flash flooding. When trees are removed there are no leaves to collect water to evaporate later or roots to soak up, making the rivers higher and the more likely hood of flooding. Deforestation of the rainforest could lead to soil erosion. Whilst the rainforest is there, there is a continual process of leaves, branches decaying and turning into nutrients (humus) which helps tree growth.

When the land has been cleared there are no leaves to decay, the nutrients and humus are washed away because there was no protection, leaving the ground with only a little nutrients which causes the land to become more infertile. One affect that will affect us all is the burning of trees that will produce more Carbon Dioxide and less oxygen. The O-zone layer that is made up of CO2, methane and water vapour works like a blanket letting sunlight and heat through, but the extra Co2 (from Deforestation) adds to the O-zone creating the atmosphere to warm up. This could eventually lead to polar ice caps melting and flooding the Seas and a generally much warmer climate. In 1990 Brazil produced 300 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide from the deforestation of the rainforest alone.

However your government can do something about this. You may have heard of sustainable development. I will try and explain this to you sustainable development is when a plan has been formed to try and preserve the forest for the future using it at the same time to make it better managing the environment and the resources, but still producing money.

Here are some sustainable development solutions that might slow down the rate of tropical rainforest destruction. My preferred solution is called Biosphere Reserve. It is more sustainable than the others as it only allows certain activates to take place, there is an inner “core” it is only used for research and genetic material, so that it is kept safe and allows one particular area where no destruction can happen. Whereas other methods clear an area the canopy is preserved allowing small amounts of selected harvests to grow beneath it.

Instead of Plantations the extractive area is owned by collectors who collect rubber, Brazil nuts, wild trees e.t.c that grow naturally. Unlike other methods there is no fertiliser required and tourists can access small parts of it. It works alongside the Indians allowing them to live alongside it; it hardly does any damage to the surrounding area. Unfortunately I can see that there might be a problem animals may migrate but in each methods the animals do not stay and settlers might invade.

Another solution you may consider is clear cutting it is much cheaper and a much larger profit can be achieved quicker, the land will regenerate if the area is small and left to recover, but unlike Agroforestry or “trees for annual crops or timber” the land is cleared and there isn’t a canopy to protect the land which allows the nutrients to be washed away. You may prefer this method as it produces more money quicker, but it makes the atmosphere much drier, the road creates easier access for illegal loggers, it may cause rapid erosion and can cause silting down stream. This would not be any good for Indians as they may lose some of their land in the process. It also only works for logging and not cattle ranching or plantations this could cause conflict. In result I prefer Biosphere, agroforestry, or even trees for annual crop or timber.

Other solutions you may cpnsider include Agroforestry, or Trees for annual crops or timber.

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Kylie Garcia

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