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Free «Deforestation in Brazil» Essay Sample

Deforestation is one of the problems affected by global warming and human activities.  Deforestation is a global problem because it influences many countries and nations, and cannot be solved by one state or a nation. The most serious depletion of forest has occurred in South America (4%) and Asia (3%). The increase in forest in North America, Europe and Oceania, however, is due to net reforestation, with original forest cover being depleted. Thus, the various non-timber resources, including especially biodiversity and medicinal ingredients, are lost. The problem of deforestation in Brazil is important for global climate and world’s population as the main source of CO2 absorption (Andersen 2). There are different opinion about the role and importance of human induced activities and their impact on deforestation problem.

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Brazil had gradually accumulated a disparate collection of protected natural areas, but it remained without a systematic approach to conservation. The value and importance of Brazilin rainforests is that the trees of the forest recycled nutrients from dead organic litter on the forest floor through the action of mycorrhizal fungi. The cycle excluded the soil. Subsequent analysis indicated that 90 percent of the soils of Amazonia were deficient in nitrogen and phosphorus, and more than 75 percent were deficient in potassium. A like percentage contained toxic levels of aluminum and calcium, and sulphur and magnesium deficiencies were present in more than half the region's soils. The question of acceptable rate of loss ultimately turned on the nature of the future and on the present's responsibility to it. While Island Biogeography Theory did not directly address these questions, and its calculation of rates of loss in centuries and millennia, led conservationists to think of the far future, and to think of it as a place where the negative consequences of present actions with regard to the globe's biological endowment would accumulate (Cunha and Almeida 315).

Some people support deforestation policies in Brazil because it allows local farmers and communities to increase their agricultural activity. Large-scale European colonization of eastern North America resulted in massive deforestation and conversion of cleared land to agriculture. The moist, typically fertile bottomland sites were usually the first areas to be cleared and settled (Andersen 167). Because of steep slopes and poor soils, many areas within the native populations were not well suited for agriculture and were initially bypassed by settlers. As productive land became less available settlers started farming on lower ridges and eventually on the flat rocky ridge tops (Jepson 99). A new, promising era of conservation was beginning in Brazilian Amazonia as the 1990s opened. International attention was again fixed on Brazil's environmental record, especially with regard to Amazon rainforest clearing. International development agencies were increasing the environmental components of their projects in Amazonia (Cunha and Almeida 315). Conservation's star was on the rise in Brazilian public life: a strong environmental plank had been written into the new constitution; President Fernando Collor was declaring himself an environmentalist; a reorganization of the federal bureaucracy had centralized responsibility for nature protection; and there was talk of a cabinet-level Ministry of the Environment (Andersen 18).

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In contrast to these views, some critics admit that the Earth will suffer from ozone depletion if Amazonian forests disappear. The critics suggest what factors will lead either to amelioration of problems, simmering (no improvement but no violence), or the outbreak of political violence. Migration continued unabated, fueled initially, by the new government's promises of land and housing in the cities. An extremely high rate of natural population growth also spurred the urban expansion  (Jepson 99). The local government system, consisting of provincial local administration (an extension of the office of centrally appointed provincial government responsible for certain local functions), municipalities, and villages, was based on the principle of delegation, and not devolution, of authority. The duties of the local governmental units were delineated in great detail by numerous laws. The central government also had close control of the financial resources of the local governmental units (Cunha and Almeida 315).

The region needs rainforests to absorb CO2 emission and reduce a possibility of global worming. Much of the city's recent growth has been characterized by absorption of additional generations and population from the rural areas into old, dilapidated housing and even into structures not intended for permanent habitation; a large portion of new construction has been of the informal, "wildcat" type outside of oversight or adherence to health and safety standards (Chimeli et al 32). The shortage of housing units is more than a quarter million by official estimates, and almost all of the poor population lives in substandard housing. The pressure on housing has resulted in utilization of practically every available space within the city for human dwelling purposes (Andersen 5). Hence, critics find that all of the pressure points, except for recreation and crime, are high for the large cities in developing countries; but only energy, education, and health are high pressure points for small and medium-sized cities in developing countries. The cities of the region would generally fit this pattern, except that crime is probably a low pressure point even in the largest cities. Perhaps the result of strong family values and the pervasive moral influence of Islam, the low crime rate is at least one positive attribute of cities compared not only to the rest of the developing world but to the developed world as well, where street crime is one of the worst urban problems (Chimeli et al 32).

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In Brazil, the political environment in which this surge of conservation interest plays itself out in the 1990s is bound to be different from that of the 1980s. Brazil now has a democratic rather than an authoritarian government. Brazil's foreign policy has few of the same goals it had twenty years ago. The development theory from which conservation doctrine took its compass readings has changed (Jepson 99). The rise of environmentalism, and with it the importance of biological conservation, was not accompanied by any great historical trauma that shook established interests to their foundations. There was no disorganized world for it to reorder, no new coalition of interests for it to bind and serve. Instead, it had to be grafted onto an entrenched international system. As the community of international conservation evolved, it became linked to the main elements of the postwar order in many sustaining ways. International businessmen sat on its boards of directors. Much of its funding came from foundations fueled by the profits of international business. The view made conservation's task appear manageable within the confines of the established order, and it discouraged organized conservation from trying to alter the order in any but superficial ways (Cunha and Almeida 315).

In Brazil, forest management is not easy, but it is possible and should be done. There are a few successful examples in Latin America, such as the Ticoporo National Forest in Venezuela, which has been successfully managed for more than forty years. Between the extremes of full deforestation and selective extraction and natural regeneration there are hundreds of options suited to every territory and every ecosystem such that there are no technical reasons not to manage a tropical forest. The explanations for failure to manage are based on social or economic considerations. For instance, people may suppose that a forest is abandoned during the thirty- to fifty- year rotation that is necessary to manage a natural forest. There is a need to explain to the local population what managing a forest entails; they must understand and participate. Conducting a coherent development program in the Amazon territory is very difficult, especially because people are not informed enough of what the Amazon is and what can indeed be done there that today Brazil is at the vanguard of the changes—the deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon is much less severe than in the Peruvian, Bolivian, or Ecuadorian Amazon (Chimeli et al 32).

These patterns of consumption cannot be changed unless the present levels of global warming and negative impact on the land persist on a worldwide scale. In the industrialized world— that is, the centrally planned economies and the market-oriented economies—the consumption of oil, coal, and natural gas is sixteen times greater than the consumption in the underdeveloped countries. The main problems of the environment are thus linked to energy consumption. This legislation, through economic incentives, state services, and infrastructure, will support the economic activity for each zone. People will be moved to comply with the zoning as a result of their best interest and not as a consequence of police and other control actions. In this situation, political issues to achieve conservation of the forests is vital and is now becoming more evident in Latin America and in the Amazonian countries. Nevertheless, these countries are still not ready to make hard or unpopular social and political decisions to change financial support to reflect the cost of forest conservation.

In sum, for global warming and deforestation, indigenous technology is not a panacea—there is no panacea for tropical rainforest destruction—but it has been totally neglected on the research agendas of major agriculture funding institutions. In view of the shred of evidence that critics have about its potential utility in achieving sustainable agriculture, we should pay more attention to it than we have. Global warming and deforestation requires a global approach based on sustainable environmental policies and control over natural resources.


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