Loss of Habitat in the Amazon
Picture a beautiful tropical rainforest with a wide array of greenery, flora, and fauna. It has an incredibly rich species biome with creatures of every color, size, and shape. There is everything from vampire bats to scarlet macaws and coffee plants, orchids, and rubber trees. With one in 10 of all known species found in the Amazon rainforest, it certainly serves as a home for much wildlife. Now imagine that home is in jeopardy.
Since the Amazon rainforest has a plethora of trees and commodities growing in its 1.2 billion acres, many companies utilize it for resources. Common goods extracted from the Amazon include coffee, chocolate, and vanilla. The most significant extractions from industrial agriculture involve trees chopped for lumber. Unregulated practices are leading to extreme deforestation of the Amazon — which will, in turn, lead to dehabitation for all the animals and people who depend on the rainforest.
In August 2019, there were approximately 76,000 fires all over the Amazon. Plenty of areas in the South American region, especially including the Amazon, are hot spots for forest fires in the warmer season — another negative effect of climate change. However, not all fires are unintended. Animal agriculture razing is a large culprit as well where fires are intentionally set off to pave flat pasture land. Deforestation rates increased under the leadership of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, who advocated for mining and industrial agriculture in the rainforest, in favor of profits. The lessening of protective policies has contributed to continual deforestation over the years.
Compared to January of last year, deforestation in the Amazon this February is five times greater. In the past 50 years, about 17 percent of the entire forest has been destroyed, mostly due to cattle ranching. With a lack of protective regulations, over two-thirds of the Amazonian species are in danger, along with the indigenous groups that live there and work to conserve the area.
Should fires in the Amazon persist, there will be hefty contributions to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, displacement and possible extinction for over 85 percent of the animals and ruination of the livelihoods of those living in rural Amazonian areas.
Deforestation in the Amazon poses a severe threat to biodiversity. If we continue practices that require the exploitation of natural resources and harm to wildlife, it begs the question: At what cost?