The Disadvantages the Amazon Rainforest Has Been Subjected To Historically
Historically and currently the Amazon Rainforest is a resource that has been dominated by mankind. The last century produced an era of modernization for this land. However, the ground is one particular aspect that currently is at risk due to a recent study on the reserve of Michelin Ecological Reserve in Bahia, Brazil. Their main objective for this study was to investigate how contrasting land histories using low-impact logging, high-impact logging and the slash and burn effect in forest recovery both in quantitative and qualitative data . These different methods of deforestation are, historically, what civilians did for industrial or agricultural purposes. To find their testing locations they asked local residents for locations pertaining to the three different land histories. They found land characterizing each land history and noted they all had one aspect in common: they were undisturbed pieces of land for fifty to sixty years. After researching each location they observed that the slash and burn method had the most aggressive disturbance and being intermediate in richness and diversity. Seventy-seven species and thirty-eight families were recorded. The high-impact logging was described as had mediocre disturbance with the lowest richness and diversity compared to the other two. Seventy-five species and thirty-two families were recorded. Low-impact logging had was the highest in richness and diversity with twelve species and thirty-five families . This experiment gives representation to mankind’s long lasting influences on nature and how it affects generations afterward. The profit of clearing this land is not equal to the disadvantages that follow in the aftermath.
Figure 1. The tan colored shade is representation of the Amazon Rainforest and depicts the Amazon Basin throughout the rainforest in blue.
Actions of the 1970’s colonization and industrialization have lead to deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest. The act of cutting and burning trees down for profit have lead to more disadvantages towards the indigenous civilians and their environment than advantages. The Amazon rainforest, the largest tropical rainforest globally, has lost a significant fifth of trees in it’s location of nine different countries; the majority covering Brazil. The Amazon River, is also partnered with the rainforest and runs from Peru to Brazil and has also been subjected to downfall . The migration of laborers gravitating towards the rainforest and not only their work, but their use of resources have left more direct, detrimental affects specifically towards: the land, the civilians, agriculture, animals, global warming and the government. The colonization and construction of the Trans-Amazon Highway has left Brazil’s civilians without water, lack of wood, increase in crime, shortage of health professionals, and no income for the city itself for maintenance . It is logical with the increased fluctuation of workers, settlers and tradesman the city will not be able to sustain itself and it showcases in the problems listed. This microcosm can be visualized on a larger scale in reference to mankind’s footprint on the world and especially the Amazon Rainforest. The progress of humanity in terms of the Amazon Rainforest have lead to more disadvantages in a wide array of aspects than positive growth towards the environment and humanity.
Figure 2. Trans-Amazon Highway (Transoceanic Highway)
Logging is a selective process and when this process is introduced to a rainforest, it makes that site more susceptible to forest fires with twice as many trees cut down . Other trees that are not selected are just as likely to be cut down with smaller trees with just as much risk. If enough small trees are cut down than it creates that newer generation of tree replacements to not grow to their full potential leaving barren land which creates a danger for forest fires. Having gaps between the trees lead to drier climates with the mix of sun a wind will make a forest fire likely to take place . Not logging will create more coverage insure less damage takes place than in counter of a possible fire from man’s need for logging.
If ranches were distributed into smaller properties it would make deforestation more likely to increase and occur . Many ranchers are faced with the temptation of buying land that is still covered in trees without consideration to buying already cleared land. Land use for these humans is for cattle and Fearnside states that they feel this is an improvement because of the overall transformation of the land. However, settlement is underdeveloped however it is important to note that balancing a population that can sustain itself in these conditions is important for preserving deforestation. Agriculture is a technique to sustain humans, however in the process we more through the need for untouched land.
Figure 3. Cattle Ranching in the Boa Vista, Brazil. The slash and burn technique is common to clear land for ranches.
Animals rely on the Amazon rainforest for survival. It is their resource and when one takes a resource away the species goes along with it. A study was comparing different sites and studied the species that were in these different environments. The slash and burn area, where farmers burned down trees for acreage, found that three species accounted for 50% of dominance . Observing a more impacted area led there to be less dominance by the replacement of several species from other successional species. This leads that different areas of impacts the type of species and dominance in each site.
Trees are our source of absorbing oxygen and a large mass of them, humans would be speeding up global warming from all the carbon emissions that go into the atmosphere. During the rapid development of the 1970’s, it created carbon emissions to be 128-207 million tC/year. This is also considered to be 1.8-3.0 percent of global carbon emissions from causes of fossil fuels and deforestation . This is due to when clearing costs are lowered and the area is so concentrated in one area and not distributed equally. Thus, creating more emissions into the air and making a negative impact on the world.
In the 1970’s, land speculation was one of the motivators for deforestation. Ranchers the owners of the land, would us a tactic to make a large profit off their land. As land values increased quicker than inflation, ranchers were susceptible to holding onto the land for a few years and then profit from it . Also, people outside the agricultural professions would purchase land and use land speculation as their tactic to profit instead of investing their money into the stock market for there is risk from tax authorities . This tactic gives people the opportunity to profit majorly without giving any of the money back to Brazil which creates an outlet for many to sell with the outcome being deforestation.
The importance of understanding the long lasting affect of mankind’s impact on the Amazon Rainforest will show the disadvantages of the it being subjected to a destructive dominance. Natives and the environment having to suffer the consequences shows the capability of human power towards nature. By learning about the history of the Amazon and the role of deforestation it can provide insight on what not to do in the future. The study on land histories shows how history is still apart of today and that years later when we want to use our resources respectively, we cannot because they were not taken care of in the first place. Also, it shows that moderation will not go backwards and it shows with the soil. Once the soil is contaminated with the deforestation methods, especially the slash and burn and high-impact logging, it will not reverse easily. Important, impactful people made this happen to the Amazon, and it makes one wonder what were they important for?
 Talora C. Daniela and Larissa Rocha-Santos, “Recovery of the Atlantic Rainforest Areas Altered by Distinct Land-Use Histories in Northeastern Brazil,” Tropical Conservation Science 5,4 (December 2012) 475
 Tropical Conversation Science, (December 2012) 479
 A.H Gentry and J. Lopez-Parodi, “Deforestation and Increased Flooding of the Upper Amazon,” American Association for the Advancement of Science, 210, 4476 (December, 1980) 2
 Marvine Howe, “An Amazon Town, Focus of Colonization Effort, Suffers a Boom,” The New York Times, 122, 41,984, (January 1973) 15
 Philip M. Fearnside, “Deforestation in Brazilian Amazonia: History, Rates and Consequences,” Conservation Biology 19, 3 (June, 2005) 682
 Conservation of Biology, (June 2005) 683
 Conservation of Biology, (June 2005) 685
 Tropical Conversation Science, (December 2012) 481
 Andersen, Lykke E., Granger, Clive W. J., and Reis, Eustaquio J. “The Dynamics of Deforestation and Economic Growth in the Brazilian Amazon,” Cambridge, GB: Cambridge University Press (December 2002) 166
 Conservation of Biology, (June 2005) 685
 Conservation of Biology, (June 2005) 685
Figure 1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_basin The tan colored shade is representation of the Amazon Rainforest and depicts the Amazon Basin throughout the rainforest in blue.
Figure 2. http://www.wilderutopia.com/international/destructive-progress-brazil-peru-transoceanic-highway-by-jack-eidt/ Trans-Amazon Highway (Transoceanic Highway)
Figure 3. https://www.allianz.com/en/about_us/open-knowledge/topics/environment/articles/150329-the-top-ten-drivers-of-deforestation.html/#!ma37b41a1-2c4f-4574-8544-66fccab6c005 Cattle Ranching in the Boa Vista, Brazil. The slash and burn technique is common to clear land for ranches.