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Deforestation - Deforestation The clearing of tropical...

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Deforestation The clearing of tropical forests across the Earth has been occurring on a large scale for many years. This process, known as deforestation, involves the cutting down, burning, and damaging of forests. According to the Forestry Division of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), deforestation is “the permanent reduction in forest cover to a point where trees cover less than 10% of the land in a place” (Rudel 12). If the current rate of deforestation continues, the world's rain forests will vanish soon, causing unknown effects on global climate and eliminating the majority of plant and animal species on the planet. It would also change the water and oxygen levels dramatically, which would increase the global warming. Deforestation is mostly experienced between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn especially in the Brazilian part of the Amazon, which covers 33% of the world's rainforests. Since 1998, the rate of deforestation in the Amazon Basin alone is 0.5%, which is the largest out of any other region in the tropics (Rudel 53). Deforestation occurs in many ways. Most of the clearing is done for agricultural purposes. These include cattle ranching, which often replaces the rain forest to grow beef for the world market. Farming is another reason for deforestation, this happens when poor farmers chop down a small area and burn the trees in a process called Slash and Burn. Deforestation by a farmer is often done to raise crops and is driven by the basic human need for food. In most tropical countries the farmers are very poor; in these countries the farmers do not have the money to buy necessities and must raise crops for food and to sell. Logging is another common form of deforestation, cutting trees for sale as timber. Logging uses heavy machinery, such as bulldozers and road graders, to remove cut trees and build roads, which is just as damaging to a forest overall as the chainsaws are to the individual tree.
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First of all, many medicines come from plants. Most of the Amazon's plants have yet to be discovered and catalogued, so we may lose valuable cures or vaccines that could have otherwise been used to fight illnesses such as cancer or AIDS. These plants could save the lives of millions of people all over the world, but are lost as a result of the destruction of the rainforests. There is so much diversity in the Amazon; scientists believe there are thousands of undiscovered species of plants and animals living deep in the forest. For example, one biologist found more ants in one tree in the central Amazon than occurred in the whole of Great Britain (World). Secondly, the Amazon rainforest is sometimes called the "lung of the world" because
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