Threats to the Amazon Rainforest
Threats to the Amazon rainforest are many and growing in number. But efforts to tackle them are also becoming more successful as the increase in global rainforest consciousness spurs on worldwide conservation and protection work.
The growth of the internet to communicate this work, and increasing understanding among governments regarding more vigorous implementation of nature-friendly policies and regulations is helping. In the case of the Peruvian Amazon, the principal issues include illegal and poorly planned mining operations.
These result in huge swathes of forest being destroyed, soils removed and polluted, rivers and streams clogged and contaminated. Rampant expansion of primary and secondary road networks that penetrate virgin forest are opening them up for quick exploitation. Furthermore, ever growing demands for agricultural land, as immigrants from the poorer highland areas in the Andes move down into the humid tropical lowlands in search of jobs and cheap land, and rapid price increases for food are driving existing farmers into unsustainable practices.
Over extraction of natural resources such as timber, wild nuts, fruit, medicinal plants, and bush-meat is growing. Large energy projects such as hydroelectric dams, with their associated deforestation, net carbon dioxide and methane releases to the atmosphere and forced relocation of locals prejudice the health of people and forest.
Climate change is altering the weather in the Amazon, making severe droughts and severe storms more frequent. These have huge consequences for trees, animals and humans.
These threats must be tackled simultaneously and at all levels of society. Ultimately, the welfare and happiness of many people will be negatively affected by the continued loss of forest.