Deforestation in Amazonia

Read this Sept. 3 story from the Washington Post on a new report suggesting wild fires and industrial activity are giving Canada the dubious distinction of being the new global leader on deforestation.

Tropical forests in Amazonia are being cleared rapidly, representing an important worldwide element of land-use and land-cover change. While some processes are common to foreststhroughout the world, others are not. Amazonian clearing is dominated by large cattle ranchers, with an increasing role being played by soybeans. Small farmers and estate crops such as oil palm have less relative importance here than elsewhere.Deforestation in Brazilian Amazonia has a significant contribution from “ulterior” motives such as land speculation, money laundering and tax evasion. Infrastructure projects, especially highway construction and improvement, represent key governmental decisions unleashing chains of activity that escape from government control. Deforestation sacrifices environmental services such as maintenance of biodiversity, water cycling and carbon stocks. The substantial impact of this deforestation on loss of environmental services has so far not entered into decision-making on infrastructure projects, making strengthening of the environmental assessment and licensing system a high priority for containing future loss of forest.

Fearnside, P. (2013). Deforestation in Amazonia. Retrieved from

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