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Destruction of Tropical Rainforests

Destruction of Tropical Rainforests - History of Forest...

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History of Forest Management in the Brazilian Amazon: Environmental Philosophy and Indigenous Knowledge Jordan Anderson Considered As one of the richest and most diverse ecosystems on the planet, the Amazon is home to more than one-third of all plant and animal species. It is the largest rain forest biome on earth and the largest freshwater reservoir in the world, containing up to one-fifth of the worlds’ freshwater (Margulis 2004). Besides the enormous amount of hosting much of the world’s natural resources and biodiversity, the Amazon also plays a n an very important role in regional and global climate, sequestering 10% of the earth’s CO2 from the atmosphere, absorbing many airborne pollutants. According to government estimates, the Amazon forest will lose 25 percent of its original area by 2020. This will be disastrous for the region's plants and animals, but also for its climate, which depends in large part on evapo-transpiration from its large expanse of forest (WWF 2007). Bs ecause of massive increased deforestation, the Amazon R ainforest on began it is becoming one of the top producers of greenhouse gases, , many species have gone species are becoming extinct, ecosystems are being fragmented and local communities are experiencing increased injustices. Specifically, Within the Amazon, the t he Brazilian Amazon Rainforest has been is the area most adversely affected by deforestation. In the past 500 years land management in Brazil has gone through many transformations. Since colonization of Brazil, environmental alteration and degradation has increased. Changes in political, economic, social and cultural life have lead to very different types of resource exploitation. Brazil
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has been inhabited by many indigenous, colonialist, and modern cultures that have greatly severely different impacts on the environment. Each of these cultures has a unique worldview that shapes the way people live and think. Some cultures have a very close spiritual connection to the land; others treat it as merely a resource to be exploited. This relationship with nature translates into different land management practices and is the root cause of all environmental alteration (Banuri & Marglin 1993). Modern and indigenous cultures have very different ways of managing natural resources. Utilizing their local knowledge, Indigenous tribes of Brazil have are known to have actively managed their environment for hundreds of years. For example, t T here is evidence of domestication and cultivation of cassava, a type of yucca plant. Huge piles of discarded shellfish have been found along the coast documenting fishing practices. There is little information on environmental destruction in Brazil before the 1500’s. This is due to the absence of written records and the Brazil’s humid climate and acidic soil which destroys y and recycles most traces of human culture. With the arrival of the Portuguese, the use of written records emerges and documentation of human environmental alteration becomes much clearer.
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