Deforestation: Carving Up the Amazon

Roads allow human access to remote lands but often result in habitat destruction. Networks of roads in the Amazon and the rapid deforestation add to jobs and economic growth with agriculture development, as well as ranching, mining and land speculation, explains Barbara Fraser for Nature. “So far, most [roads] have encroached on forest around the edges of the basin, but they are increasingly slicing through the middle. In Brazil alone, the Amazon road system grew by an average of almost 17,000 kilometres a year between 2004 and 2007.” The Amazon rain forest is so huge that it influences climate patterns. As the forest is cut, area weather is becoming drier with less rainfall and more wildfires. The forest could eventually transform from major carbon absorber to carbon emitter. Environmentalists point to a dilemma: the need to reduce poverty and create viable livelihoods for Amazon residents versus development that could irreversibly change the climate and cause long-term environmental harm. – YaleGlobal

Deforestation: Carving Up the Amazon

A rash of road construction is causing widespread change in the world's largest tropical forest – with potentially global consequences for global climate
Barbara Fraser
Thursday, May 22, 2014

Barbara Fraser is a freelance writer in Lima, Peru.

© 2014 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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