South America is home to some of the world’s largest and most lush rainforests. Fully one-fifth of the various species of flora and fauna on the planet can be found in these forests, and quite a few of them are native to this region only. Despite the enormous size of the rainforests, they are rapidly shrinking due to deforestation in South America.
The reasons for deforestation in South America are generally the usual gauntlet that has plagued other countries; in the first place are man’s need for more cropland and the need for wood. These two needs are difficult to avoid as the increasing world population causes subsequent changes in the demand for food and timber for construction.
The other two reasons for deforestation in South America are the conversion of forest into urban areas and the location of valuable iron ore and petroleum deposits deep in the rainforests. These other two reasons have been the target of some public inquiry, as they usually lead to the destruction of parts of the rainforest without using the wood for any useful purpose.
More often than not, the trees are either thrown away and left to rot, or the forest parts to be felled are actually razed to the ground by fire. In either case, the forest is treated more as a hindrance to progress and civilization than as the precious commodity it is. However, the above four reasons are common factors of deforestation around the world. But in South America, there are other, weirder reasons for deforestation that seem to be specific to this continent alone.
In Brazil, the main reasons for deforestation are livestock and soybean farming. Brazil itself is home to large areas of the Amazon rainforest, which actually extends through most of South America. Aside from the Amazon, Brazil has one third of the world’s rainforests. Despite this high percentage, almost a quarter of Brazil’s forests have already been lost. The practice of animal husbandry and the destruction of forest for grazing land has long contributed heavily to deforestation in South America, and these numbers have steadily increased as European countries have turned to Brazil for 75% of their meat imports.
Soybean farming is a fairly recent development in Brazil, but has already risen to the second largest cause of deforestation in South America. The creation of new soybean varieties in Brazil has already made it possible to compete neck and neck with the United States as the world’s largest exporter of soybeans, and the subsequent increase in demand for commercial arable land has led to the destruction of vast tracts of land. forest area.
Another of the common reason for deforestation in South America is the presence of gold and diamond mines in Venezuela. Venezuela’s rainforests were originally separated by the Orinoco River that flows through the country, with 20% of the forests growing north of the river and the remaining 80% growing south. The usual reasons of logging and the need for agriculture and urban land have already more or less decimated the top 20%, as most of the inhabitants of Venezuela live north of the Orinoco. However, the discovery of rich gold and diamond deposits in the rainforests south of the river has led to numerous mines, which are currently the main reason for deforestation in Venezuela.
Finally, Colombia is another part of South America where deforestation is due to more than just the “ordinary” reasons. The disgrace of the country’s drug lords is justified, and countless Colombian rainforests have been razed to make farmland for growing cocaine, marijuana, opium and other recreational drugs. Since these “farms” are usually hidden deep in the rainforests, when anti-narcotics forces attack them to shut them down, the ensuing battles usually also end up devastating large areas of the surrounding rainforests.
As you can see, the problem of deforestation in South America is not as simple as in other countries. In addition to the common factors that affect other regions, there are several factors that affect the saving of South American rainforests and require dedication and support far above the norm.