ENG 101 Project 5

ENG 101 Project 5 - Aiton 1 Professor Cooper ENG 101 008...

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Aiton, Professor Cooper ENG 101 008 November 20, 2007 Deforestation In Our Tropical Rainforests In recent years, tropical deforestation has received much global attention regarding environmental issues. The term deforestation has many accepted definitions, but Barraclough and Ghimire refer to it as the depletion of forest biomass and the conversion of forested areas to non-forest land. Examples include farming land, pasture, urban use, logged area or wasteland (Barraclough & Ghimire, 1995, 11). About one-third of the world’s land area is forested, half of this area being located in tropical regions. The Food and Agricultural Organizations of the United Nations (FAO) estimate that tropical forests are depleting at a rate of 0.9% annually (Barraclough & Ghimire, 1995, 12). If this rate of deforestation continues, most tropical forests would disappear sometime in the twenty-first century, or atleast significantly reduced to small patches that would probably be protected and off-limits to the public! One of the main factors in deforestation attributing to this alarming rate is agricultural expansion. Agricultural expansion contributes to economic growth in developing countries, while at the same, promoting devastating consequences, including social conflict, extinction of plants and animals, and climate change—challenges that aren’t just local, but global. These consequences address the topic from three different angles – science, social science, and humanities. By doing so, the detrimental effects of increased deforestation can be seen in multiple aspects, and hopefully educate and encourage more people to want to help make a difference. New methods of farming, such as 1
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Aiton, shade farming, along with reforestation are ways to help make a difference and reduce deforestation. The recent increase in concern about deforestation in developing countries is due to the rapid losses of tropical forests and its contribution to climate change. According to Ben Cogdell, large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are being released into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels and other forms of industrialization. Carbon dioxide is the second largest natural greenhouse gas, causing 9-26% of the greenhouse effect on earth. These greenhouse gases trap thermal radiation, redirecting some of the heat back to earth, causing temperatures to rise (personal communication, November 28, 2007). Tropical deforestation is a significant contributor to the build-up of greenhouse gases that are found to bring about global warming. Although prevelant around the globe, it is in the world’s tropical rainforests where the destruction is most pronounced. In the Amazon alone, scientists estimate that the trees contain more carbon than 10 years worth of human-produced greenhouse gases. When people clear the forests, usually with fire, carbon stored in the wood returns to the atmosphere, enhancing the greenhouse effect and global warming. Once the forest is cleared for crop or grazing land, the
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ENG 101 Project 5 - Aiton 1 Professor Cooper ENG 101 008...

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