Between May 2000 and August 2005, the rainforest around the Amazon, Brazil lost more square kilometers than the whole of Greece. Why is the Brazilian Amazon losing so much forest? Deforestation of the Amazon basin is a priority for most international conservation organizations. What can we do to slow down the deforestation of this country’s largest rainforest?
Deforestation of the Amazon basin: why it is being grubbed up
In many tropical countries, most deforestation is caused by the poor lives of growers. However, in Brazil, only one third of today’s deforestation is associated with poor people. Deforestation of the Amazon can be largely attributed to deforestation of the country for pastures for commercial and speculative use (illegal logging), misguided government policies, inappropriate projects of the World Bank ( World Bank ) as the construction of infrastructure (highways, cities, dams) and the commercial exploitation of forest resources. One of the serious reasons for deforestation is illegal logging. Effective measures are essential to address these issues. Concentrating solely to promote the sustainable use of land by local people would overlook the biggest factors behind deforestation in Brazil.
Data on deforestation in Brazil
1989 17,770 -16%
1990 13,730 -23%
1991 11,030 -20%
1992 13,786 25%
1993 14,896 8%
1994 14,896 0%
1995 29,059 95%
1996 18,161 -38%
1997 13,227 -27%
1998 17,383 31%
1999 17,259 -1%
2000 18,226 6%
2001 18,165 0%
2002 21,651 17%
2003 25,396 19%
2004 27,772 9%
2005 19,014 -31%
2006 14,285 -49%
2007 11,651 -18%
2008 12,911 11%
2009 7,484 -42%
All data are from the Institute for Space Research (INPE) .
Deforestation in the Amazon basin in Brazil is closely linked to the country’s economy: the decline in deforestation in 1988-1991 coincides with a slowdown in economic growth over the same period, while the rapidly increasing rate of deforestation in 1993-1998 is parallel to a time of rapid economic growth. In worse times, ranchers and farmers do not have enough money to expand their pastures quickly. Because every 3-4 years they have to change pastures because the soil forms only a thin layer in the forests and the nutrients are quickly depleted. In addition, they are motivated to expand their pastures and fields due to the ever-increasing demand of “western countries” for cheap beef and soy. At the same time, the government does not have the funds to finance highways and develop infrastructure. The result is tax breaks and subsidies for people sprouting the Amazon rainforest. The reason is simple:
A relatively small percentage of large landowners deforest large parts of the Amazon due to pastures. Large areas of forest are cleared to plant African savannah grasses (soybeans, ai), which will later be used as livestock feed. Brazil is one of the largest exporters of soybeans in the world. Massive deforestation usually occurs in times of high inflation when the land is left purely for investment purposes. When pasture prices exceed forest land prices, grubbing up the forest around the Amazon is a good hedge against inflation.
deforestation of the Amazon basin Brazil
Kredit: John Warburton-Lee Photography / Alamy
These favorable tax policies, combined with government-subsidized agriculture and infrastructure programs, support the deforestation of the Amazon basin. Deforestation is also caused by a policy that favors low agricultural taxes, encourages the creation of pastures for cattle and makes it possible to make money from grubbing up.
In addition to the loss of habitat for wildlife, land for indigenous peoples, and the natural services of the ecosystem, ecologists argue that deforestation in the Amazon basin and, in fact, the total destruction of the Amazon is driven by global warming. In some years, up to 75% of emissions in Brazil come from deforestation, the vast majority of which comes from the rainforest around the Amazon. This deforestation results, inter alia, in soil erosion and pollution of watercourses.