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An Amazonian nightmare of deforestation

By Dave Armstrong - 11 Sep 2014 9:33:0 GMT
An Amazonian nightmare of deforestation

Just how much of the Amazon can be maintained as a rainforest? Can we stop the loggers and beef farmers now, or will we be left with just another theme park based loosely on the fantastic animals that used to live there? The giant otter, Pteroneura brasiliensis, the jaguar, the butterflies, the beetles, the frogs and the bush dogs-all will be gone if their habitat, the Brazilian rainforest, is lost; otter image; Credit: © Shutterstock

In Brazil's Maranhao state 5 tribes of the Ka'apor have joined forces to expel loggers, burn their logs and destroy their equipment. This symptom of the lack of government action throughout the Amazon has produced yet another rise in the incredible recent rate of deforestation in Brazil. Government figures show a 29% annual increase up to July 2013 with a slightly lesser amount in the previous year. This entails the loss of 6,000km2 or 2,315 miles2 of forest. Our report from last year is here: 2012-2013 deforestation in the Amazon.

Para and Mato Grosso are the usual culprit states, where the spread of agriculture is responsible for vast tracts of land being taken over. At around 1000 km2 or 390 miles2 a year for each state, this approaches the bad old days when Brazil alone saw the loss of 30,000 km2 of precious and pristine rainforest in 2004.

The commercial factor in this formula for rainforest destruction is the timber, leather, beef, soy and palm oil trade, especially with the EU and North America, at $61bn a year. Cut the cheap beef out of supermarkets, the wood trade and the oil and we may just be able to have power over illegal logging, burning, corruption in licencing and the whole industry of deception that plagues most of the land disputes in some countries.

When the count is made, the giant trees are being destroyed by people who have never seen one. The action must be against those who take advantage when governments haven't got the resources to act, to control, or to dismiss their corrupt elements.