Deforestation of the Amazon: Causes, Effects and Possible Solutions

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Deforestation of the Amazon:
Causes, Effects and Possible Solutions

Geography 101, Section 040
6 December 2012
This paper explores the causes, effects and possible solutions of the deforestation of the Amazon Forest. It is important to understand why more than 580,000 square kilometers of Amazon forest has been destroyed in Brazil since 1980 (Rhett Butler 2012). The main topics of this paper, in order to fully explore the issue at hand, will include: 1. What is Deforestation? 2. What Are the Major Causes of Deforestation in the Amazon? 3. What are the Effects of Deforestation on the Amazon and it’s People?

Deforestation of the Amazon: Causes,
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A project such as mining take up a significant amount of space and forces the destruction of deep-rooted land due to the depth they must dig.

Figure 1. Mining operations at Rio Huaypetue gold mine

One of the most famous failed infrastructures is the attempted construction of Brazil’s Trans-Amazonian Highway in the 1970’s. The 2,000 mile highway was planned to bisect the Amazon forest, opening rainforest land for settlement of poor farmers from the over crowded north as well as allowing for the development of timber and access to mineral resources. Citizens who moved would be granted 250 acres of land, six month’s salary and easy loans in exchange for settling near the highway and transforming the surrounding rainforest into agricultural land (Butler 2012). This project was plagued in various aspects because the highway was deemed unstable during heavy rainfalls that would block traffic and leave crops to rot. Since the soil of the rainforest hold no nutrients, the slash and burn agriculture mentioned above was used in order to plant crops. Because the soil eventually returns to it’s original state, the nutrients in the previously burned crops already absorbed by the second harvest (the first is a “bumper crop” because the first harvest grows vigorously quickly soaking up the freshly released
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