Deforestation Essay

962 words - 4 pages

Throughout the tropics, rain forests are being cut down. By different methods and for different reasons, people in tropical regions of the world are cutting down, burning, or otherwise damaging the forests. The process in which a forest is cut down, burned or damaged is called "deforestation."Global alarm has arisen because of tropical rain forests destruction. Not only are we losing beautiful areas, but the loss also strikes deeper. Extinction of many species and changes in our global climate are effects of deforestation. If the world continues at the current rate of deforestation, the world's rainforests will be gone within 100 years-causing unknown effects to the global climate and ...view middle of the document...

NASA projects to study the deforestation of tropical forests are conducted by analyzing Satellite Imagery (pictures taken by satellites in space) to view areas of forest that have been cleared. Figure 1 shows part of a satellite scene, showing how scientists classify the landscape. There are both patches of deforestation and a "fishbone" of deforestation along roads. Forest fragments are isolated forest pieces left by deforestation, where the plants and animals are cut off from the larger forest area. Regrowth-also called secondary forest-is abandoned farmland or timber cuts that are growing back to become forest. The majority of the picture is undisturbed, or "primary," forest, with a network of rivers draining it.The most recent figures by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimate tropical deforestation (rain forest and other tropical forests) at 53,000 square miles per year (15.4 x 106 ha/yr) during the 1980s (FAO 1993). Of this, they estimate that 21,000 square miles (6.2 x 106 ha/yr) were deforested annually in South America, most of this in the Amazon Basin. Based on these estimates, each year an area of tropical forest large enough to cover North Carolina is deforested. Each year!The rate of deforestation varies from region to region. Our research showed that in the Brazilian Amazon, the rate if deforestation was around 6200 square miles per year (1.8 x 106 ha/yr) from 1978-1986, but fell to 4800 sq. miles per year (1.4 x 106 ha/yr) from 1986-1993 (Skole and Tucker 1993). By 1988, 6% of the Brazilian Amazon had been cut down (90,000 square miles, about the area of New England). However, due to the isolation of fragments and the increase...


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