Sunday, 13 November 2011
The Amazon Rainforest...a paradise...but...
The Amazon Rainforest in South America has been named as one of the 7 Wonders of Nature (for full list check link 7 Wonders of Nature - World Facts) . I'm hoping that this designation will bring some attention to some of the not so wonderful aspects such as the marginalization of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon and the widespread deforestation that's robbing the world of critical resources and defences against the negative effects of climate change.
I read an interesting fact on wikipedia (yes i did wiki) about the region. On 18 January 2007, FUNAI reported that it had confirmed the presence of 67 different uncontacted tribes in Brazil. Brazil as a result, now has the largest number of uncontacted people in the world...
The Amazon region is expansive....this map gives us an idea of just how vast it is.
Source: Study by Rett A Butler
So when we think that in 6 years, between 2000 and 2006, the region lost almost 150,999 sq km (that's plenty! bigger than lots of countries), and that this rate has been increasing, there is cause for concern. The survival of many of these indigenous populations is intricately linked to the survival of the Amazon Rainforest.
As indigenous territories are destroyed, it is being reported that rainforest communities are also disappearing, or else turning to cultural war with others who are infringing on what they believe (and I believe as well) to be their rights to the forests that they have occupied.
Of course much of it is linked to economics. A very real and direct result of for example the devaluation of the Brazilian real (Brazilian currency) against the dollar is that it caused the price of beef to double in reals. This then encouraged ranchers to take advantage and to use more of the forested areas as pastures.
There are many other factors of course that result in deforestation. But the hope is that as more attention is paid to the region that they will not forget how integral the forest in its natural state is to the preservation of its many indigenous cultures.