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The Development And Management Of Tropical Rainforests

2723 words - 11 pages

The Development and Management of Tropical Rainforests

The primary reason for the rapid reduction in the size of the worlds
greatest natural resource, the Tropical Rainforest, is mainly due to
economic incentives, placed on developing countries be it by the World
Bank, TNCs or just private investors. This is well illustrated, in
Gunung Palung in Indonesia where illegal logging activity is occurring
in the this national park because wealthy local merchants and members
of the local police, military, and national park staff have been
financing small groups of villagers to log, for them. Exploitation of
this resource is common throughout the world this is due to the great
demand for hardwoods such as mahogany in MEDCs e.g. Japan which uses
large amounts of hardwoods for plywood to make casts for concrete and
chopsticks which a great many are used and thrown away in Japan.

The activities which cause the greatest amount of deforestation are;
logging and farming plantations, using the slash and burn technique
for creating colossal plantations with a short life of two to three
years and leaving a thin laterite soil which has formed due to the
initial ferralitic soil suffering extensive leaching due to the heavy
rainfall of the tropics (2'000mm+). This is the way that the
commercial use of land causes deforestation in the topics, as though
the land is very fertile, having the highest, net primary production
of any biome on our planet of around 2'200NPP in oppose to a deciduous
forest, unlike those found in Britain which has an average of around
1'200NPP, and provides 40% of the worlds net primary production of
terrestrial energy, once the cover of the rainforest's terrestrial
canopies is lost, effectively the soil has lost its protection against
the rain and an umbrella which intercepts close to all of the heavy
rainfall which occurs in these latitudes. So once a plot of vegetation
is consumed the rainforest's soils are ruined as the layer of humus at
the top of the ferralit is leached and the removal of the trees means
that there is no recycling of nutrients, so though the returning of
all the biota in the system to the soil through, causes a short period
of impressive fertility, this is also the method by which the soil
diminishes, as the rainforest consists of a very delicate closed
system in which trees have the greatest function, as it is believed
that in the top canopy of the rainforest along contains 40-95% of the
worlds insects, the variation showing how little is in fact known
about them.

This process, means that the revival of the rainforest is almost
impossible, since the soil can no longer sustain such high energy
trees as the amazing emergents, so it is likely that the original
habitat may never return and a periglacial environment with usually a
much less diverse biome...

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