5 Agriculture There is (mainly) cattle ranching and soya production Why are they clearing the forest for cattle ranching? Beef is cheaply produced. This means there is a ready export market. This encourages the ranchers to produce more. Land ownership is difficult to establish, so that means anyone can come along and clear the land. It is very much a matter of finders- keepers. Often, land ownership can be claimed not by a proof of property, but simply by physical occupation. But this means that Amerindians may have to move away + loss of plants/animals and soil erosion etc
6 Why is soya growing? Soy provides more than a quarter of the world’s vegetable oil. In its meal form, it is the preferred food for domesticated animals as it is high in protein - and this demand is growing rapidly. For example, as countries such as China develop, they are eating more meat than ever before. They feed their cattle/pigs on soya but they don’t have the space to produce enough themselves – so they need to import it.
7 So …. There is growing global demand, which has propelled soy to the single most important agricultural export commodity of Brazil. Soy developers take over land cleared by the cattle ranchers because it makes more money than ranching. The cattle ranchers (and deforestation) move deeper into the Amazon towards new areas. Soy traders to offer cheap loans to producers - even where soy is not the most suitable crop from an ecological or food security perspective. With their new gains, producers expand their cultivated areas without depending on expensive domestic loans.
8 Can you remember some of the problems we talked about last week that were caused by the rainforest being cut down?
9 Problems caused by soya production Loss of natural areas: The expansion of soy cultivation is a powerful agent of rainforest loss. The longer dry season caused by the removal of the trees is actually better for production than land in the rainforest area By heavy use of chemicals, while the area under production increased 57 times, while the amount produced increased 138 times. Erosion and subsequent siltation of rivers and wetlands, caused by the clearing of vegetation along waterways. Pollution of surface water with pesticides threatens human populations and aquatic life. Social impacts: Labour conditions during land preparation are generally poor. In the 1970s, 2.8 million people were displaced by soybean production. Many of these people moved to the Amazon Basin where they cleared pristine forests.
10 What is likely to happen? American/China will continue need more oil/feed A new highway through the Amazon will encourage development along it Brazil needs the income – so things do not look good
11 The great demand for tropical hardwood such as mahogany and rosewood. Five million hectares of forest are lost in the Amazon each year as a result.
12 Why? There is a huge demand for timber worldwide In 1996, Asian companies invested more than US$ 500 million in Brazil’s timber industry, mainly because they were aware of the speed at which the forests in Asia are being cut. Illegal logging While laws exist which authorize logging in designated areas, illegal logging is widespread in Brazil and several Amazon countries. A study by a Brazilian commission showed that 80% of all logging in the Amazon was illegal during the late 90s. Of the 13 companies that were investigated, 12 had broken the law
13 How do they get away with it? Use of forged permits Cutting any commercially valuable tree regardless of which ones are protected by law Cutting more than authorized quotas Cutting outside of concession areas Stealing from protected areas and indigenous lands In Colombia, while illegal practices have been reduced, government assessments reveal that between 80% and 90% of all forest clearing is still illegal, with timber being smuggled into Brazil and Peru.
14 What happens to the forest? Whereas sustainable logging can be a long-term source of income for people and the government, logging is often not carried out in accordance to such standards. Because the permits to logging companies are short term, they see no value in logging sustainable – they arrive, take as much as they can and leave again leaving devastation This leads to biodiversity loss, over-hunting of wildlife and soon after conversion for agriculture or pasture. It has documented that for every commercial tree removed, 27 other trees more than 10 cm in diameter are damaged, 40 m of road are created and 600 m 2 of canopy is opened – about the size of one football pitch for each tree harvested. Once fallen, trees must be transported which may involve using tractors. The erosion that follows logging washes away nutrients/soil into the streams and rivers.
15 Resettlement in the Amazon People have been encouraged to move out of the shanty towns in the cities into the Amazon They receive: would receive a plot just over 1 km 2 in size, six months' salary, and agricultural loans, This entitles them to settle along one of the highways and cut the surrounding rainforest to grow crops. Five million cattle were also brought into the area, a trend repeated elsewhere. The population has tripled between 1980 and 2000
16 Why was road building such as the TransAmazonian Highway vital to all these large scale development projects?
17 Roads are bad news too For the Amazon rainforest, roads are very often bad news. In the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, about 80% of the deforested areas are within 30 km of official roads. In addition to that, approximately 80% of new towns and farming communities and other reasons for deforestation are within 70 km of such roads. But at least the Trans-Amazonian highway cuts through interior forest, well off the floodplain and hence in an infertile area.
18 The Amazon rainforest has developed a rich base of mineral resources. Iron is exported to countries for steel making. Vast areas have been cleared to gain access to these reserve.
19 Issues While mining does not cause so much deforestation as logging and agriculture, it brings problems of its own. While government controlled mines are doing their best to reduce pollution from the processing, illegal miners such as the gold prospectors (garimpeiros) are not so careful. Highly toxic mercury is used in the processing of gold and this gets into the rivers. This chemical is dangerous for the nervous system as well as foetuses.
20 Developments in the Amazon Carajas Project iron ore, copper, manganese, nickel, bauxite, gold, tin, lead, zinc Carajas Sao Luis Belem Tucurui TransAmazonian Highway rail link 0 100km
21 Tucurui Dam Tucurui Dam was built between 1976 and 1984, on the Lower Tocantins River in the state of Para, approximately 300km south of Belem. The reservoir created upstream of the dam is over 2000km 2. The dam will produce more than 4000 MW of electricity.
22 Amazonian Indian villages Before Tucurui Dam Tucurui Dam HEP plant Road flooded an area 5 times the size of the Isle of Wight After Tucurui Dam Tucurui Dam – cost $5 billion River Tocantins What has changed ?
23 The dam has stopped silt travelling downstream. This silt is a natural fertiliser. We will have to buy chemical fertilisers or clear more forest. The flooding displaced thousands of us living by the river. Moreover, chemicals used to defoliate the vegetation before flooding have contaminated the water and caused illness. This electricity will be used to power the mines at Carajas and the smelting industries at Belem. These industries will provide jobs. The dam has stopped the migration of fish up and downstream. Who gained and who lost out from its construction? Tucurui Match the statement with the correct person Carajas Farmer Fishermen Amerindian Miner
24 Then the water in the lake and what the lake releases, Is crawling with infected snails and water born diseases. There’s a hideous locust breeding ground when the water level’s low… by K E Boulding The cost of building dams…
25 But it is not all bad – what does this recent graph show about deforestation in the Amazon?
26 Homework You may think that the obvious solution to the problems of deforestation is simply to stop people cutting the trees down. However, it's not always as straightforward as that. Most of the countries that have rainforests are trying to cope with poverty, debt and high rates of population growth. Can they be blamed for trying to make some money? ONE Can you think of any ONE way that countries, that form part of the Amazon rainforest, could make money from it sustainably – this does not necessarily mean not cutting down any trees at all but doing it in a way that preserves the Rainforest. [This is a ‘talk to your parents about this’ sort of homework!!] more There are some more hints and tips on the homework sheet.