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Stop the Logging of the Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon rain forest is the largest in the world, producing more than 20 percent of the world’s oxygen and housing more than one-third of all living species in the world, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The rain forest is spread out over more than 1.5 million square miles, with its basin covering about 40 percent of South America over nine countries. It is the source of one-fifth of the Earth’s river water.The Amazon is the lungs of the Earth. Logging of the Amazon has reached a critical threshold, beyond which the ecosystem will lose its ability to regenerate itself and begin a process of decline. The rainforest is also home to many groups of idigenous peoples. The logging and deforestation of the Amazon must stop now before it is too late.

The Amazon Rainforest is a moist broadleaf forest in the Amazon Basin of South America. The area, also known as Amazonia or the Amazon Basin encompasses seven million square kilometers (1.2 billion acres), though the forest itself occupies some 5.5 million square kilometers, located within nine nations: Brazil (with 60 percent of the rainforest), Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. States or departments in four nations bear the name Amazonas after it. The Amazon represents over half of the planet's remaining rainforests and comprises the largest and most species-rich tract of tropical rainforest in the world. Tropical forests in the Americas are consistently more species rich than the wet forests in Africa and Asia. The region is home to about 2.5 million insect species, tens of thousands of plants, and some 2000 birds and mammals. To date, at least 40,000 plant species, 3,000 fish, 1,294 birds, 427 mammals, 427 amphibians, and 378 reptiles have been scientifically classified in the region . Scientists have described between 96,660 and 128,843 invertebrate species in Brazil alone. The diversity of plant species is the highest on earth with some experts estimating that one square kilometre may contain over 75,000 types of trees and 150,000 species of higher plants. One square kilometre of Amazon rainforest can contain about 90,790 tonnes of living plants. This constitutes the largest collection of living plants and animal species in the world. One in five of all the birds in the world live in the rainforests of the Amazon. To date, an estimated 438,000 species of plants of economic and social interest have been registered in the region with many more remaining to be discovered or catalogued.

Deforestation is the conversion of forested areas to non-forested areas. The main sources of deforestation in the Amazon are human settlement and development of the land. Between 1991 and 2000, the total area of forest lost in the Amazon rose from 415,000 to 587,000 km², an area twice the size of Portugal, with most of the lost forest becoming pasture for cattle. Amazonian colonization was ruled by cattle raising because ranching required little labor, generated decent profits, and awarded social status in the community. However the results of the farming lead to extensive deforestation and caused extensive environmental damage. The people of Brazil have always thought of the Amazon as a communal possession which they felt free to hack, burn, and abandon at will.” Brazil is currently the second-largest global producer of soybeans after the United States, and as prices for soybeans rise, the soy farmers are pushing northwards into forested areas of the Amazon.

1. Logging of the Amazon must stop immediately.

2. Reforestation must be started and continued by logging companies.

3. We must preserve the home of millions of species of wildlife and indigenous peoples.