Deforestation & rain forest

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Deforestation: the global community’s challenge

Introduction

Deforestation is one of the most talked about themes in the international arena, and with the recent advent of the issue of climate change on this arena, it has become an international heated debate. “Forests are the world’s most threatened ecosystem” (Babin, 2004, p. 63). Tropical forests, in particular, are even more exposed tothe negative impacts. These threats are a direct result of human activity.

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the notion of deforestation, including its main causes and its major impacts. Particular attention will be paid to the Amazonian forests, as they are especially threatened as of now and as a result of deforestation. The overall impact this is having is quite broad and it isdirectly related to climate change, alongside the disruption of natural habitats for millions of species, and the extinction of many of them. Tropical forests certainly face the larger threat from deforestation compared to other types of forests, and because they generally located within developing countries, the task of stopping or mitigating the phenomenon is even harder.

The first section ofthis paper will deal primarily with the basics of the notion of deforestation. This includes the generally accepted definition, as well as a brief discussion on its history, its major causes, and its overall effects. Because climate change is, perhaps, the most detrimental effect of deforestation, the next section will deal exclusively with said theme. Afterward, the topic of regrowth will beaddressed, and this refers to the process of trying to alleviate the damage caused by deforestation by trying to “regrow” vegetation in the affected areas. Then, a discussion regarding the particular case of the Amazonian forests will be included. Finally, conclusions will be derived regarding the previous analyses and discussions.

Deforestation basics

Deforestation, as its name implies, refers to“the action or process of clearing forests” (Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, 2010). For the most part, this refers to human activity. In other words, deforestation generally refers to the process of clearing forests as a result of human activity, and the latter varies and includes change the land use for other purposes like cattle ranching, logging, and agriculture. However, nature also playsan important role in the depletion of forests. Natural climate changes and evolution have modified the earth’s terrain over history, yet as of today, “there is little doubt that the current shrinking of tropical forests is due to human activity, even though it is assumed that tropical forests have been inhabited for several thousand years” (Babin, 2004, p. 62). Deforestation refers not only totropical forests, however, as it encompasses the clearing of any type of forest, yet tropical forests are at the forefront of the debate given their massive impact on the environment, particularly on weather patterns and the fact that they are home to thousands, perhaps millions of terrestrial species.

It is said that tropical forests account for about 50 to 70% of the total amount of animalspecies known to mankind (Babin, 2004, p. 62). Of special importance is the Amazonian forest, provided that the closer to the tropics a forest is, the more abundant and diverse the species are. Some estimate that about 6% of the world’s total fauna resides in the Amazonian forest (Babin, 2004, p. 62). This is why the current debate on deforestation basically centers not only on tropical forestsin general, but on the Amazonian forest specifically. It is especially exposed to greater impacts as a result of deforestation. It must be pointed out, however, that just as forests may naturally disappear over time, different species do so as well as a result of evolutionary natural selection. Yet, the current rates of extinction are much greater than the rate of extinction through natural...
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