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Loss of Wild Lands

     Slash and Burn Deforestation The deforestation technique of slash and burn, utilized extensively to clear large areas of forest for agricultural and other purposes, causes an enormous amount of environmental damage. The large amounts of carbon dioxide given off into the atmosphere during burning adds to the greenhouse effect. The removal of all trees and ground cover destroys animal habitats and greatly accelerates erosion, adding to the sediment loads of rivers and making seasonal flooding much more severe.

     Increasing numbers of human beings are encroaching on remaining wild lands-even in those areas once considered relatively safe from exploitation, degradation, and pollution. Insatiable demands for energy are forcing the development of Arctic regions for oil and gas and threatening the delicate ecological balance of tundra ecosystems and their wildlife. Tropical forests, especially in south-eastern Asia and the Amazon River Basin, are being destroyed at an alarming rate for timber, conversion to crop and grazing lands, pine plantations, and settlements. It was estimated at one point in the 1980s that such forest lands were being cleared or converted at the rate of 20 hectares (nearly 50 acres) a minute; another estimate put the rate at more than 200,000 sq km (78,000 sq mi) a year. In 1993 satellite data provided a rate of about 15,000 sq km (5,800 sq mi) a year in the Amazon Basin area alone. This tropical deforestation has already resulted in the extinction of as many as 750,000 species, and is likely to eliminate millions if allowed to continue unchecked. This would mean the loss of a multiplicity of products: food, fibers, medical drugs, dyes, gums, and resins. In addition, the expansion of croplands and grazing areas for domestic livestock in Africa, and illegal trade in endangered species and wildlife products, could mean the end of Africa’s large mammals. In North America, wild areas are being threatened by agricultural expansion and widespread pollution.

 

 

Tomorrow morning when you get up to take a nice deep breath, It will make you feel rotten.

~Citizens for Clean Air, Inc. (New York)