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Threats to the Tropical Rainforest Essay Example

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Threats to the Tropical Rainforest

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These forests get their name “Tropical” from their location within the tropics, that is, the Tropic of Capricorn about 23 degrees south and the Tropic of Cancer about 23 degrees north of the Equator (Primack and Corlett 15).Given the strategic location of Tropical rainforests within the tropics, they span across most of the world’s continents, including Africa, Asia, Northern Australia, and South America. These forests are also found in many of the tropical islands within these areas (Wright 554-555). The Amazon Rainforest is the largest of the Tropical rainforests in the world. Found in South America, the Amazon forest covers eight nations including Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, Peru, Venezuela, Suriname and Ecuador. This huge forest covers a 2 million square miles area. Studies have shown that Tropical rainforests play a significant role in regulating local, as well as, global climatic conditions, in addition to regulating the crucial carbon cycle. The forests regulate the carbon cycle by absorbing and storing large amounts of carbon, while releasing much needed oxygen to the environment. This happens when the vast number of plants takes up carbon during photosynthesis, thus incorporating it into stored biomass. Even though there is no agreement as to whether preserved rainforests constitute the principal sink or source of carbon, negative influences of excessive deforestation are clearly known. Additionally, the role of deforestation in negating the carbon cycle is indubitable (Fearnside 681).Over the last several years, discussions regarding the links between forests’ depletion and climate change have been on the rise. This is an aspect attributable to two principal reasons. The first reason is that, depletion of rainforests leads to alteration of hydrological cycles, as well as, patterns of weather, and extensive loss of biodiversity. Additionally, there are situations where deforestation occurs through utilization of fires, because the practice is both swift and cheap. This leads to production of a large amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs), further contributing to the prevalent global warming problem. The second principal factor, fuelling the mentioned discussion is that, depletion of forests usually leads to cumulative influences. Some of these effects include micro-climate changes, increased soil erosion and occurrence of droughts. It is imperative to note that

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Works Cited

Fearnside, Philip. “Deforestation in Brazilian Amazonia: history, rates, and consequences.” Conservation Biology 19 (2005): 680–688.

Pearce, David, Putz, Francis, and Vanclay, Jerome. “Sustainable forestry in the tropics: panacea or folly.” Forest Ecology and Management 172(2003): 229–247.

Primack, Richard and Corlett, Richard. Tropical Rain Forests: An Ecological and Biogeographical Comparison. Oxford: Blackwell Science. 2005. Print.

Ravenel, Ramsay and Granoff, Ilmime. Illegal logging in the tropics: strategies for cutting crime. New York: Haworth Press, Food Products Press. 2004. Print.

Wright, Joseph. “Tropical forests in a changing environment.” Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20 (2005): 553–560.

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