Amazon Deforestation Accelerates
The distruction of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil has accelerated for the first time in four years, Brazilian officials say.
Satellite images show 11,968 sq km of land was cleared in the year to July, nearly 4% higher than the year before.
The government said the figure was unsatisfactory but could have been a lot worse if it had not taken action against illegal logging.
High commodity prices had allegedly tempted farmers to clear more land.
In recent years the Brazilian government has been able to celebrate three successive falls in deforestation. But the latest estimate from the National Institute for Space Research, known as INPE, shows that this trend has come to a halt.
'Could Be Worse'
Gilberto Camara of the Space Research Institute, said they would have liked better news. "We believe it is a setback, but we believe it is also postitive in the sense that the expected levels were much higher," Mr Camara said.
"There was a lot of burning on the ground in the second half of 2007, which could have led to a much greater increase in deforestation".
In late 2007 and early 2008 there were signs that deforestation was on the rise again - with land said to in demand for cattle and soya, at a tie when commodity prices were high, says the BBC's Garry Duffy in Sao Paula.
In response the government announced a series of measures to clamp down on illegal logging, includig a major operation involving police and environmental inspectors known as the "Arc of Fire".
Brazil's environment minister, Carlos Minc, said that without actions like this, the figures could have been much higher.
"Many had expected an increase of 30 - 40% and we managed to stabilise it, "Mr Minc told a news conference. But he said that the government was still not satisfied.
"We want to lower numbers even more. We want zero deforestation".
Environmental groups will be watching the situation carefully to see if the resolve and the resources they say are needed to protect the Amazon region are in place, our correspondent says.
The Rainforest, Amazon Children & People
Tearing down the Amazon Rainforest with massive heavily bladed machines is seriously deplacing thousands of Indigenous tribes. In the year 1500 there were an estimated 9 million Indigenous people inhabiting the Rainforests. By the year 1900 there were barley 1,000,00 Indigenous people and now there is less thank 250,000.
The reason for this is that more and more outsiders ventured into the Amazon. Some of the first plunderers were silver and gold mine prospectors. These mining companys some of the first coming from Spain, forced the Rainforest people, often at gun point, into mainly silver mines. Millions of Rainforest people had no option but to go down into these mines, It is said that over 1 million Rainforest people lost their lives in these mines, often agonisingly chocking to death in the dust 700ft below the surface. Later, rubber gatherers, enterpise merchants and raiding oil companies forced their way into the Rainforest.
These unscrupulous men plundered villages, raped Indigenous women, enslaved the young men and murdered others. Many Indigenous people also died from diseases brought in by strangers to which they had no resistance. Diseases such as influenza, small pox, measles, tuberculosis, malaria and chicken pox, these diseases were never heard of before by the Rainforest people.
The Rainforest people are trying hard to survive in the face of change and they are confused and worrried and they cannot understand why they are slowly being driven off their Rainforest home land. The Rainforest people have had such a difficult and bad time ovfer the years, they need our help more than ever. Help to stop unscrupulous giant corporations from driving them off their home land and making them homeless. Help to stop loggers from cutting down more and more trees and clearing the areas where they live. Business giants do not care about the Rainforest people or the environment. They only care about making money.
Rainforest people know and understand that distruction of the Rainforest brings only devastation and they know that the Rainforests have to be properly managed for the forest people and wildlife to survive. But fat cat giants and corporations pretend that all is well. But it is well known that all they want to do is take, destroy and accumulate massive bank accounts. Threatening peoples lives, homes and wildlife means nothing to these fat cat business giants and even some governments. Sometimes nature strikes back and you can see this by what is happening all around the world.
If we don't stop this deforestation and giant corporations and governments destroying the Rainforests, soon there will be no Rainforests or Indigenous Rainforest people or wildlife left.
Let's work together and we can make the difference to save our planet earth.
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Why are we losing our truely amazing Rainforests that once covered over 14% of planet earth? Why are we allowing the Rainforests to slowly disappear, so now there is only a mere 6% of the worlds Rainforests left, and there is rumours that withi 50 years most of the Rainforests will be gone!
Every 5 seconds 7.5 acres of Rainforests are lost. Rainforests are lost because of short sighted Governments and Multi-National logging companies who pay only £1.00 per acre for logging concessions in the Amazon. For instance, Japan is the largest importer of tropical woods. Japans average tropical timber import is 11 million cubic meters. Annually, this is appallingly too much!
The demand for tropical hardwood timber is damaging the tropical lands and it makes sense that this cannot be sustained. One of the terrible destructive machines that ruthlessly plough's through the Rainforest is a massive 15 ton machine with a huge 8ft (approximately 2.5 meters) cutting disc that has 8 blades and revolves at 320 times a minute. These machines cut down over 200 species of trees in minutes, which shockingly ends up as woodchip, for the woodchip board industries.
Due to this deforestation devation nearly half of the world's species of plants, animals and micro-organisms could be destroyed over the next 30 years. As the Rainforests disappear so do so many possible cures for life threatening diseases. The Amazon Rainforest alone covers over a billion acres encompassing areas in Brazil, Venezuela, Columbia and the eastern Andean region of Ecuador and Peru. The Amazon Rainforest has been described as the "Lungs of the Earth" because it providex the essential environmental recycling of Carbon Dioxide into Oxygen and more that 20% of the world's oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest. Did you know that our fruits, Avocados, Coconuts, Figs, Oranges, Lemons, Grapefruits, Banana's, Guavas, Pineapple, Mangoes and Tomatoes, and vegetables including Corn, Potatoes, Rice, Winter Squash and Yams and Spices like Black Pepper, Cayenne, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Sugar cane, Turmeric, Coffee and Vanilla and nuts including Brazil and Cashew nuts all came from the Rainforests. More than half the world's estimated 10 million species of plants, animals and insects live in the tropical Rainforests. Something else that will amaze you! One fifth of the world's fresh water is in the Amazon basin.
Experts agree that by leaving the Rainforests intact and harvesting its many nut, fruit, oil producing plans and medicine plants, the Rainforest has more economical value than if they were cut down to make grazing land, or for timber. The Rainforests oxygen benefits the world.
The US National Cancer Institute has identified 3000 plants that are active against cancer cells. 70% of these plants are found in the Rainforests. 25% of the active ingredients in today's cancer fighting drugs come from organisms found in the Rainforests. For example, Vincristine, an extract from a Rainforest plant called Periwinkle, is one of the world's most powerful anti-cancer drugs. It has dramatically increased the survival rate of acute childhood Leukaemia since it's discovery.
Today, more than half of the Rainforests have gone up in smoke. In less than 50 years more than half of the worlds tropical Rainforests have fallen victim to fire and the chain saw. The rate of destruction is still accelerating. Unvelievably, more than 200,000 acres of Rainforests are burned every day, thats a million acres every 5 days.
Massive deforestation brings with it many ugly consequences; here are just some; water pollution, soil erosion, malaria epidemiccs, the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the eviction and decimation of Indigenous Rainforest tribes and the loss of biodiversity through extinction of plants and animals.
Fewer Rainforests mean less rain, less oxygen for us to breath and an increased threat from Global Warming.
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