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Hwa Chong Institution

Integrated Humanities – Sec 2 Geography


Conflicts
Exercise 2: Deforestation – Case Study of Amazon Forest

Name: Du Han Yuan (04 ) Date: 02/07/09

Class: 2O4

1) Study the extract form a newspaper account below (Fig. 1) which was written in May 2001
about deforestation in the Amazon Basin in Brazil. Using this information, together with other
facts you may know to answer the following questions.

Conservation in Brazil

Managing the rainforests


ILHA DE MARAJO AND PARAGOMINAS

“Sustainable management” could help to save the Amazon rainforest without harming economic
development

E mpty fields, as far as the eye can see, line the


highway for most of the 300 km from Belem,
The deforestation, mostly in the past 30 years,
of 14% of the Brazilian part of the Amazon
rainforest, the world’s biggest, has been both an
economic and an environmental disaster. The usable
eastern Amazonia’s main city, to the timber-cutting timber would be ripped out of a stretch of forest and
town of Paragominas. Once it was all forest, but the rest would then be burned, because the land
since 1970s most of the trees in a broad strip beside would often be worth more when cleared than it had
the road have been cut, not just to extract timber, been as untouched forest. This value, however, was
but to clear pasture for cattle-raising, encouraged by due partly to excessive optimism over the region’s
subsidies and tax incentives. Now, though, most of agricultural potential and incentives provided by the
the fields lie empty and are over-grown with scrub. government. When farming was actually tried, it
Cattle are seen so infrequently that they might be was frequently found to be unprofitable.
imagined to be an endangered species.
Fig. 1

(a) Suggest why the writer of the newspaper account refers to the deforestation in Amazon
rainforest as an

(i) ‘economic disaster’, [2]

Cattle-raising and farming were failures and unprofitable.

(ii) ‘environmental disaster’. [4]

By cutting down trees, the carbon dioxide in the air would not be able to be taken in by the plants
during photosynthesis. This causes global warming as carbon dioxide is a green house gas which
will trap the heat on Earth.

(b) Why is it difficult to control deforestation in this region?


[5]
Brazil has huge debts to pay to other developed countries and its income is very low and they
have to struggle to pay off the huge debts plus the interest. The rainforests contains many
valuable resources which could help them pay off some of their debt. Although there have been

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measures taken by the government to stop the logging of mahogany, people are still doing it
illegally showing their disregard of the laws.