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Changing places: Is there hope for the Amazon rainforest?

changing places

What causes deforestation?

The Amazon rainforest is the largest on Earth, covering 1.4 billion acres across nine South American countries. It is the most biodiverse region on Earth and home to 420 indigenous communities. However, it has also suffered from large-scale deforestation since the 1960s as landowners encouraged commercial activities.

© Paralaxis/Alamy Stock Photo

Cattle ranching has been blamed for around 80% of all deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Trees are removed to make space for rearing cattle in order to produce beef for the global market. Other agricultural activities have also contributed to deforestation, such as growing soya beans to be used for animal feed. Both of these products have increased as global demand for meat has risen.

The Amazon rainforest is home to tropical hardwoods such as mahogany and rosewood, which can be sold at high prices to be made into furniture. Wood is also used for fuel and for building materials both locally and nationally. A key challenge for managing deforestation is controlling the illegal logging that takes place.

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Changing places: Is there hope for the Amazon rainforest?

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