Question

by Komal
(Washington)

Agricultural Use of Rainforest Land

Agricultural Use of Rainforest Land

I'm wondering what is considered right or wrong in the tropical rainforest.

Barry's Response - The threats most people see regarding the forests more often than not involve conversion of the forested land to other uses. This strips the native peoples of many of their rights, such as to live in secluded tribes, live off the land in the habitat in which they were raised and conditioned to live, and remain undisturbed and unstressed.

This also strips the ecological habitat of the balance it achieved through evolution over millennia and requires an adjustment period to achieve a new, stable balance.

Examples of anthropogenic conversion include:

  • Deforestation for agriculture. Large tracts of forest are cleared so that the soil can be used for producing crops. Problems often originate when one crop species (usually a cash crop) is strongly favoured over a variety of others that hypothetically could contribute to a balanced ecosystem.

    Other problems associated with this kind of activity involve the introduction of foreign pesticides and fertilizers that may also upset native species. It is well known that topsoils in these environments are quite thin...much more than what most people would expect. This leaves the soil vulnerable to quick erosion down to the sand below and nutrient leaching by heavy rains if not protected.
  • Mining, drilling - Lands are opened and scarred by this type of economic activity. It this case, deforestation is completed simply because the trees are an obstacle to development.
  • Urbanization - drastically changed land use with permanent results. This introduces the greatest variety of new pollutants to the environment and its effects (including demand for wood) may reach further into the forests than any other land-use change.

What's right about these forests? People don't talk about that too much. They would likely say a forest left alone is a forest treated right.

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