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The Effects Of Deforestation In Ecuador

1082 words - 4 pages

In today's hectic world people work longer hours and utilize more technology and energy more than ever. The impact that this is having on the environment is substantial in both negative and positive ways. It is hard to deny the benefits modern technology has produced for the world, in industry and in everyday life. With more and more technological breakthroughs, there have been many positive ecological impacts, but the negative impacts are almost overwhelming. A Perfect example would be the deforestation of our rain forests.
Ecuador is located on the equator in the tropical Andes of South America. Its territory includes four principal regions: the Amazon, the Andes, the Pacific Coast, and the Galapagos Islands; and is home to at least 14 indigenous nationalities. The eastern half of the country makes up part Earth’s largest and most biodiverse watershed and tropical rainforest. Ecuador is one of the world’s ‘megadiversity hotspots.’ It is one of the most species-rich countries on the planet. Part of the reason for this is that it’s a tropical country, and the tropics harbor a much greater diversity than do temperate countries. But Ecuador’s astounding biodiversity is also due to the simple fact that there are a great number of different habitats within its borders. Obviously, the cold, high Andes support very different species than do the low tropical rain forests. When all the intermediate areas are included, and the coastal region added, the result is a wealth of habitats, ecosystems and wildlife. The transition zones between the lowlands and the highlands, where much species overlapping occurs, are some of the most biodiverse regions on earth. For nature lovers, this place is a dream come true. Ecuador's natural attractions could lead to increased tourism, benefiting the economy and its people tremendously.
Ecuador also has one of the world’s highest rates of deforestation. Before human impact Ecuador must have been covered by an estimated fifty-two million acres of forest. During the coca and banana boom, the coastal lowland forests were cleared for these agriculture crops. In the interandean basin native vegetation has been practically eliminated since colonial times, replaced by crops, pasture, towns and cities, and eucalyptus and pine plantations. This region suffers serious soil erosion problems. Today only about 1 - 2% of its original forest covers remains. Only about 5% remain of the rich forests of the coastal region, most of which have been destroyed in the last 50 years by logging, agroindustrial monocultures (banana, cacao, coffee, African palm) and colonization. In the province of Esmeraldas (in northwest Ecuador), the last unprotected old-growth forests on the coast are now being liquidated by the timber industry and cleared for huge plantations of African palm which are currently responsible for the fastest deforestation rate in South America.
Currently Ecuador’s major environmental problems are erosion in the highland...

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