Deforestation of the Amazon

Map of the Amazon rainforest showing how the land is split between forest and other uses Deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest has become a big problem, between 1991 and 2000 the total area lost to deforestation increased from 415,000 to 587,000 square kilometres. Most of the land which has been lost is due to Cattle farming.

In November 2009 the Brazilian government has announced that there has been a dramatic drop in the rate of deforestation. Between August 2008 and July 2009 only 7,000 square kilometres was cleared. The plan for the future is to get it bellow 4000 square kilometres per year.

The main reason for the drop is due to the government, which have put measures in place to try and reduce illegal clearing. There have been Federal police raids in areas where illegal logging has been taking place. One of the other reasons is due to the recession and farmers who can not afford to clear more land.

Plans are in place to set a international payment system to fund forest conservation in developing countries from 2013. Brazil could earn up to $16 billion per year under the scheme.

The national Institute for Space Research have been monitoring the Amazon rainforest by satellite since 1988. The worst 2 years of deforestation was 1995 when nearly 29,000 square kilometres was cleared and 2004 with nearly 27,000 square kilometres.

Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest facts

  • Brazil is the fourth largest producer of green house gases, most of these gases are from deforestation and burning.
  • The Amazon has the world's greatest rate of deforestation.
  • The main reason for deforestation of the Amazon is due to cattle. They are responsible for about 80% of the land being cleared. In 2008 the value of cattle trade in Brazil was $6.9 billion; almost one quarter of this is for the sale of leather.
Causes of deforestaion in the Amazon between 2000 and 2005

Related reading

There are many books about the rainforest, its people and its wildlife, and the effects that deforestation has on the world. If you are interested in finding out more, we particularly recommend these books. Happy Reading!

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Did you know?

In a 10 year period between 1999 and 2009, at least 1,200 new species have been discoverd of plants and vertebrates have been discovered in the Amazon rainforest.

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