Scientific Literature Review Paper





Scientific Literature Review Paper

The article What Drives Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon? Evidence from Satellite and Socioeconomic Data by Alexander S. P. Pfaff provides a study on the factors that are driving high levels of deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon forest. The article takes note that previous studies in regard to deforestation focused in the population growth as a factor contributing towards deforestation. However, the high prevalence of deforestation is associated with a combination of a variety of factors. The article notes that some of the factors brought to light by the study include the land type, transportation costs and government related activities, which induce deforestation.

The article notes of the significant role played by the government in terms of ineffective policies that rather should be ensuring preservation of the forests. The primary concern on deforestation is the associated consequences on extinction of species in the forest and gradual accumulation of greenhouse gases, which are associated with decline in forest cover. The article illustrates the contribution of various variables towards high levels of deforestation. It uses the Legal Amazon forest as an example of the variables that have contributed towards the degradation and gradual destruction of forest cover in this region. The Leal Amazon section is a large area that has been used over the years as a political issue both military and civilian governments. Previous governments found this land to be ideal for settlement to cater for the growing demands for land because of rapid population growth in Brazil.

From such, it is evident that population growth is a significant variable that contributes towards deforestation as populations seek new areas for settlements and farmland to cater to the growing demands for food and water. It is important to note that the mason forest is home to numerous plant and animal species that are likely to face extinction because of the high levels of deforestation currently at play in the Amazon rainforest basin. In addition, isolated areas that are excised from continuous forest are usually faced with higher rates of species loss and extinction than continuous connected forest.

Studies indicate that 15% of forestland was converted for other uses from the period 1850-1980. In addition, this was followed by a decline of 9.2 million hectares annually from 1980-1990, 16 million hectares annually from 1990-2000 and 13million hectares annually from 2000-2010 (Spilsbury 21). This illustrates a net change of more than 5.2million hectares annually in the last decade, which can be estimated to be equivalent to the size of Costa Rica being lost on a daily basis. In addition, other articles note of the importance of the difference between agents and causes of deforestation.

Agents of deforestation are classified as elements or parties such as farmers, commercial farmers, ranchers, firewood collectors, loggers, and infrastructure developers. On the other hand, causes of deforestation can be termed as forces that influence the identified agents to clear existing forests (Pfaff 14). In addition, such factors are also classified into direct and direct factors. Direct factors and agents of deforestation are referred as the primary sources of deforestation at the forest level. They are also termed as proximate causes given that they are relatively easy to identify and whereas identify factors and their agents are a challenge to identify and associate with deforestation activities.

The direct causes are noted as the increase in demand for farmland. This is directly associated with population growth and increase in demand for food commodities. As a result, the scarcity of agricultural land is seen to be a primary driver towards invasion of existing forests and subsequent destruction of such areas to crease spaces or agricultural activities. Clearing and burning of forests has been practice that has been in existence since the evolution of man and is seen to be a continuing contribution towards decline in forest spaces around the world. Logging and fuel wood are contributors towards decline in forest cover in tropical rainforest basins such as the Amazon forest. The demand for timber for use such as furniture and construction purposes is also a driver of the unrelenting levels of deforestation exhibited around the world.

Another factor and driver of deforestation is the high levels of urbanization, industrialization, and infrastructural development. Expansion of cities and urban regions and the demand for land for expansion of existing infrastructure is also seen to be a primary cause towards the high levels of deforestation. Tropical rainforest are a major target for infrastructural developments to support rapid population growth exhibited in urban regions. Such development project may include dams, housing units, expansion of existing road and rail networks through pristine areas.

Overpopulation and poverty are also associated with the deterioration of existing forest cover. Overpopulation and poverty contribute to deforestation whereby individuals move into forests in search of valuable commodities for trade. In addition, poverty drives individuals towards illegal activities such as logging and sourcing for fuel wood into restricted forest areas. In addition, forests are also destroyed because of mining activities and the search of minerals by individuals as well as corporations (Andersen 47). This gives rise to an understanding as to the role of government policies in safeguarding human activity within forests. Multinational corporations in areas such as the Amazon have been issued with licenses for mining and exploratory activities in search of minerals. Thus, governments, through ineffective policies and corruption are seen to play a role in abetting the high levels of deforestation as witnessed over the years in the Amazon forest, which has lost more than 20% of its area to illegal logging, farming, and mining, by private firms and individuals.



















Works Cited

Andersen, Lykke E. The Dynamics of Deforestation and Economic Growth in the Brazilian Amazon. Cambridge: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, 2002. Print.

Pfaff, Alexander S. P. What Drives Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon? Evidence from Satellite and Socioeconomic Data. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management Vol. 37, No.26-43, 1999. Print.

Spilsbury, Richard. Deforestation. New York: Rosen Central, 2012. Print.


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