Importance of Natural Resources

World Without the Amazon Rainforest


Not long ago we all saw those fires raging
in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest. The Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais
in 2019 reported 80,000 fires up until August, while wildfires also blazed in the countries
of Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru. It was estimated that 906 thousand hectares
of forest was lost due to these fires, which is a massive 9,060 km2 or 3,500 square miles. This has devastating effects on local indigenous
communities, but does the other side of the world suffer, too? We don’t need to tell you that the Amazon
rainforest covers a large area. Most of it is located in the country of Brazil,
around 60 percent of it, but it also covers a fair bit of Peru and Colombia as well as
smaller parts of Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. There’s around 2,100,000 square miles (5,500,000
km2) of rainforest. It’s the most biodiverse forest in the world
and it’s said there are about 16,000 species of trees. If you were to count all the trees you might
find there are something like 390 billion of them. No one has actually done this of course, and
that’s a ballpark estimation. Also living in this place are an estimated
40,000 plant species, 2.5 million insect species, 1,294 bird species, 427 mammal species, 428
amphibian species, and 378 reptile species. It’s like nowhere else in the world, but
it’s also getting smaller because of human development. Over the years humans have been clearing parts
of the forest for development purposes, and this is known as deforestation. So much of it has gone that it can be seen
from space. Most of the deforestation happens so there
are spaces of pasture for cattle, but space has been cleared for soy farming, drilling
for minerals, damming, land claims, logging, and more. Scientists are concerned about a tipping point,
with some people saying that deforestation could lead to accelerated global warming. Before we get into the global impact we must
first think about what deforestation means for indigenous people that live in the forest. Scientists sometimes talk about something
called “Evapotranspiration”, which has been described as “forest sweating.” When the forest sweats it brings the temperature
down, but with fewer trees there is less sweat and so the place heats up. If we consider current global warming and
on top of that less forest sweating what we have as a result is a much hotter place. We say much, but a small rise in temperature
is actually a big rise because of the negative effects. As one scientist wrote, “Increasing temperatures
and drought are already shifting the plant composition of the Amazon, and many trees
will perish as conditions breach the limits at which they can survive.” The animal population is also reduced and
so the result for local populations is a disruption of their livelihoods. There is the fear that the tipping point will
come if temperatures rise as much as 3°C to 4°C, which could create a savanna-like
environment for parts of the forest. This will destroy a lot of this biodiversity
we have talked about and will have devastating effects for anyone who lives in those areas. But it won’t just affect local people, experts
say. The more of the Amazon forest that disappears
the less carbon it soaks up and the less oxygen is released into the atmosphere. If all the trees and the plants were suddenly
destroyed billions of tons of carbon would be released and we would be looking at a global
catastrophe they say. If some almighty conflagration were to set
this forest on fire that would happen, but we must also think about what that smoke would
do the people in the vicinity and farther away. Air pollution would be so bad it would be
hard to breath and make it dangerous to be outside. When the fires were raging this year and everyone
from celebs to leading news organizations came out to say the lungs of the world were
being destroyed, what followed were some other reports debunking this. Talking to Forbes, one scientist said there
has been a problem but that problem has been around a long time. While the deforestation and fires is certainly
a big issue, that scientist said there has also been some amount of hysteria. Forbes wrote, “Against the picture painted
of an Amazon forest on the verge of disappearing, a full 80% remains standing. Half of the Amazon is protected against deforestation
under federal law.” Some people acknowledge that a more serious
problem could arise if global warming results in much bigger fires down the line, but right
now most of the Amazon is intact and globally we shouldn’t have any huge problems. It’s a different matter of course if you
live in or near to a place that has burned to the ground. Today we are trying to understand what might
happen if there were these extreme fires down the line, if the forest did burn like it has
never burned before. Well, in 2019 The Atlantic wrote this, “The
Amazon Is Not Earth’s Lungs” and it underlines that with “Humans could burn every living
thing on the planet and still not dent its oxygen supply.” In fact, scientists tell us the Amazon absorbs
as much oxygen as it produces so it effectively produces zero oxygen. This article claims that it would be a tragedy
if more of the forest burned, with so much biodiversity destroyed and communities ruined,
but the world far from the Amazon would still be ok in terms of having air to breathe. One scientist interviewed wrote, “Even the
most foolhardy destruction of world forests could hardly dint our oxygen supply, though
in other respects such short-sighted idiocy is an unspeakable tragedy.” Another scientist was asked what would happen
if we burned all the trees on Earth. He answered, “Virtually no change. Generations of humans would live out their
lives, breathing the air around them, probably struggling to find food, but not worried about
their next breath.” Others have chimed in, saying we have millions
of years’ worth of oxygen on this planet and it isn’t going anywhere. One scientist wrote, “Even if all organic
matter on Earth were burned at once, less than 1% of the world’s oxygen would be consumed.” So, it seems the world will be able to breathe,
but still deforestation impacts people in a way that threatens their lives or livelihoods. Pollution is a killer, and so we really don’t
want any more smoke from burning fires. We want to keep our diverse flora and fauna. We need to protect our forests and we need
to protect the communities that live in them, but we should also be skeptical according
to many scientists when we talk about the world’s oxygen just running out. Right now most scientists agree that more
needs to be done to protect the Amazon rainforest, and we might hope that what happened this
year will mean changes for the good in the near future. Do you agree with everything we’ve said
today? Can you add anything? Tell us in the comments. Also, be sure to check out our other video
This Is What Will Happen When The World Runs Out Of Oil. Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t
forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time.


Reader Comments

  1. I Like how our society finally found a way to make money from planting trees. Shows what we really are as a civilization. 2020s are going to hard eye opening times for humans.

  2. Brazilian here. If we do not monetize the forest, can't take care of it. Nobody works for free. That's it.

  3. What people need to remember about the fires in 2019, this is not the first time the Amazon has been on fire (in fact it has had fires almost every year for at least a decade and by numbers, 2019 isn't even the worst in the last decade) this just happens to be a larger fire by area.

    That being said, mankind should not be messing with the Amazon as much as they are simply due to the ecosystem diversity that is there but a lot of people act like this is the first time a fire has happened which is just not the case.

    I do not believe in climate change as it is presented in the media, I believe the earth cycles over and over… does mankind use of plastics (and others) cause major issues, certainly and that should be addressed but I simply do not believe that in the history of mankind we have caused as much damage as the media would have us believe.

  4. Its like the Americans and the Indians. Just because they say there is a law doesnt mean it wont be changed. It's not like trees can speak up to us.

  5. No mention of the effects of Hydroelectric projects ? Belo Monte alone drowns thousands of acres of rainforest, and what about clear cutting for cane fields to produce ethanol ?

  6. Well more people more farmland needed for food, as government expands freedom shrinks or in this case as the Brazilian government expands the Amazon shrinks.

  7. I really want to donate but I don't have any money because I'm still a kid I'm still 14 and I don't have a credit card to use to donate and I don't even know how to use a credit card sorry if I can't donate!!!😢😢 because I don't have any money Maybe I will plant my own tree in my house so it won't be so hot and on the other hand I can help to save the earth!!😍😍💕💕

  8. I can't believe some scientists have the audacity to say people are being histeric, even YouTubers are Doing a better job at saving earth than them!

  9. Listening to these scientist talking about the rainforest dieing out like it's not a big of a deal!?

    The only thing left for us humans to do now…is to drained all the water the earth's hold…probably then these scientist can experiment on how not a big of a deal to watch the distruction taking its toll😂🤦😒

  10. How can the burning down of all trees not cause a decrease in oxygen? Since the trees are needed to aid in the replenishing of oxygen. Also if they weren't all that important why do they exist in the 1st place? They most be here other than to be an animal's home or place of food or shade from the sun. Also with the rise of carbon emissions, i believe the trees are even more important.

  11. Even if we plant 20mil trees, it won't stop or reverse global warming. I'm still sending my money for the cause but, remember this is not going to solve our problem

  12. Hi my Name is "Wild Fire" So one Day I went to this strange Forest and I encountered a Lady named "Animals" she looked pale and abused so I felt bad. Immediately I told her If I could take her home. She look at me and said "Yes!".

    I actually took her home

  13. Yeah, but the oceans are important too, and I don't see the media talking about the huge environmental disaster involving Venezuelan oil that is contaminating the coastal area of ​​9 Brazilian states with hundreds of tons of oil. in the case of oil nobody knows who was to blame and the oil just keeps coming.

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