Blog 1 (Fall 2016) – Impact Of Economic Development In Amazon Forest, by Cristina Delmundo

The Amazon forest is located in South America and covers a billion acres of land that stretches from Brazil to Venezuela to Columbia, including parts of Peru and Ecuador. According to widely available data, the Amazon Rainforest produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen; this is why the Amazon was given the nickname, Lungs of the Planet. The World Wild Life Fund Organization explains that the Amazon rainforest is home of “40,000 plant species, 3,000 freshwater fish species and more than 370 types of reptiles” (WWF). In addition, a report from Project Catalyst Data in recent years estimates that 400-500 indigenous Amazonian Indian tribes (Amerindians) exist in the Amazon forest (Project Catalyst Data, 2008). The Yanomami tribe is the largest in the Amazon Rainforest with 20,000 members, in contrast smaller tribes have no more than 30 members and “there are about fifty of this tribes who do not have any contact with the outside world” (Project Catalyst Data, 2008).
The Amazonian indigenous people are known to live in harmony with nature; they are depend on the forest for survival and are the main keepers of the forest. For thousands of years the indigenous people in the Amazon forest have survived with a remarkable knowledge of forest conservation and sustainability with their traditions and customs. However, the Amazon Forest is rapidly shrinking from deforestation caused by economic development such as cattle ranching, logging, mining, farming, road construction and construction of hydroelectric dams. In recent times the rate of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is responsible, in average, for a loss of earth’s 137 species of plants and animals each day (Project Catalyst Data, 2008). Worldwide, tropical deforestation is accountable for almost as much carbon emissions as all of the world’s trucks, cars, ships, trains and planes (WWF). The consequences of deforestation in the rainforest can be catastrophic, not only for the people who resides in the forest, but also for the whole entire planet resulting in pollution of the water and air soil erosion, malaria outbreaks, less oxygen and more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, plant and animal extinction, also global warming. Amazonian indigenous tribes struggle to protect their beloved forest, their culture, traditions and they feel the negative impact of economic development in the region. However, Amazonians are beginning to embrace the use of some communication technologies in order to bring awareness to the outside world about the importance of the Amazon forest conservation. In addition, they are using communication technologies such as cell phones, satellite and the internet to let the outside to teach their successful sustainability techniques in preserving the forest.
In conclusion, economic Development is not always beneficial to people or a place. Sometimes economic development brings destruction to valuable ecological resources and despair to indigenous populations who with the destruction of their habitat are forced to relocate to a new place in search of food and shelter in order for them to survive. Communities can be shattered by poverty in our capitalist society, many urbanized centers exists with people living in horrible conditions without sanitation, pollution of the air and without access to fresh clean and drinkable water. We all must take part in preserving earth’s precious forests.

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