Do the Negative Impacts of Deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest Outweigh the Positive?

(Photo Source: PEXELS)

(Photo Source: PEXELS)

Sophie Marcus, Writer

Deforestation is an ongoing problem that has affected society heavily in both positive and negative ways. Specifically, the Amazon Rainforest is undergoing harsh deforestation and has been since the late 1970s. Regardless of whether people think deforestation needs to be stopped or continued, there’s one thing that’s for sure, society’s habits have caused more harmful impacts than beneficial. 

There are different ways that people who live in the Amazon rainforest cut down the trees; such as clear-cutting and selective logging. In the Amazon, there are Cattle ranchers who cut down the trees for land to build houses for their families and have farm space for their animals. The trees that are cut down are used for lumber for bigger facilities such as hospitals, schools, and almost every building that one steps foot in. Regardless of the fact that we need lumber, one can not ignore the fact that society as a whole needs the oxygen produced by the Amazon Rainforest present in their life. The government should ban deforestation in order for our biodiversity and oxygen production to thrive and rebound.


The Differences Between the Damages of Clear Cutting and Logging

In the Amazon Rainforest, there are cattle ranchers and farmers who clear cut an area for the purpose of having a chunk of land to form their estates and have an open area for their farm animals to graze. Clear cutting is cutting down all of the trees in a specific area and doing so recklessly. Selective logging is still bad for the environment, but instead of cutting down a whole area, people pick a select few trees so that the trees grow back in the same organized way in which they were cut down. On the other hand, there is also shelterwood logging. This type of logging is when people cut the trees that are most likely not going to thrive in their environment, and they plant new seeds in hopes of stronger trees. 

(Photo source: PEXELS)

What is The Government Doing to Help Stop Deforestation?

Although Brazil’s police force knows that people are cutting down trees illegally, they continue to ignore the ecological problem going on here. According to, ever since Jair Bolsonaro took office, the Brazilian government has made land areas for commercial exploitation. After speaking with Sophomore Chemistry teacher, Mrs.Goodrich, she exclaims, “European countries have been trying to talk to Bolsonaro about this and he’s rebuked them saying, ‘this is my country and you can not tell me what I do with my country.’ Each president has their own agenda that they’re going to listen to.”

 Furthermore, Bolsonaro thinks that it is okay to cut down the trees in the amazon because he benefits from the land that is being sold in the forest. Ninety percent of the deforestation that is happening in the amazon rainforest is illegal but the president of Brazil still supports secret agencies.


Let’s Get Down to Business

When asking Sophomore, Vivian Asimelli for her opinion on clear cutting in the rainforest, she thinks, “It’s a job and that humans do what they need to do. Trees are beneficial to this world through their lumber and the paper that is generated by them. We need to be in a safe environment and if lumber is what we need to ensure that buildings will be secure, then we will cut as many trees as we need in order to live in a safe area.” She makes a fair point that we do need lumber for our bigger buildings like hospitals, schools, and houses. Isn’t our safety a priority too? Yes, our safety is a priority and lumber is the building block and the foundation that people’s houses need. Regardless of our safety being important, one can not ignore the obvious negative impact that deforestation has on the Amazon Rainforest. By cutting down one more tree for one more house, we are reducing our oxygen. We all need oxygen to breathe and the amazon provides 20% of our worlds oxygen. So sure, the positives of deforestation benefit us humans, but the negative effects harm us as well. As one can tell, there is always negatives and positives of a controversial topic, but sometimes they balance each other out.

(Photo Source: PEXELS)


What Does Deforestation Contribute to in the Environment?

The Amazon Rainforest helps regulate water flow, biodiversity, oxygen, and our land. Fifty percent of our world’s biodiversity comes from this rainforest. Since such a big percentage of our living plants and animal species come from the Amazon, the world would be heavily impacted without this forest. Not only are humans facing negative effects from deforestation, but animals’ habitats are being destroyed with every tree cut down. In fact, the Amazon is losing approximately 50,000 of its animal and plant species each year because of deforestation. Animals are important to the world, not only because we get food products from them, but because they are beneficial for balancing the ecosystem.

Animals are not the only thing harmed in the process of deforestation, so is our air. Deforestation in the Amazon contributes heavily to climate change. When trees are cut down, the oxygen that was stored in the tree gets released into the air as carbon dioxide. In fact, deforestation fulfills 10% of the pollution involved in global warming. Therefore, if we do not stop deforestation then climate change will continue as well since it’s a domino effect. Climate change affects the weather in ecosystems that are hot or cold and alter the temperature of the environment. Lots of animals are suffering from climate change. 

(Photo Source: PEXELS)


Not only does deforestation harm animals’ habitats and the temperature in their environment, but it harms rivers. All of the residue and remains of the cut-down trees go into the Amazon river because of the rain. The river has sediments of trees, runoff, and erosion due to deforestation. Therefore, fish are unable to migrate and other river animals are harmed and stuck in the river. Deforestation also takes away the medicine that people get from the living plants in the rainforest. According to U.S. National Cancer Institute, two-thirds of the medicine that is known to help cancer are from plants that are found in the Amazon. Along with the medicines that help with cancer, there are 120 other medicines that are discovered to come from plants that are living in the Amazon rainforest. These numbers show the importance of keeping the rainforest in its best condition so that these medicines will still be available to us.


What are Alternative Jobs and Supplies if We End Deforestaion?

If we end deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest, the world would be a more sustainable place where living things can develop and thrive in their environment. People that were once clear cutting would resort to using the tree’s resources that it provides, without cutting it down. Jobs such as rubber tappers, and environmentalists are going to play a major role if or when deforestation ends. According to Mrs.Goodrich, “Farmers are currently building ranches on the land that they cut down, which not only promotes climate change but it makes people eat a more beef based diet. On top of that, indigenous people and rubber tappers are then being displaced from deforestation.” I agree with Mrs.Goodrich that what is going on right now leaves awful impacts on not only the rainforest itself but the people in it as well. Therefore, if we end deforestation people will not be forced to eat a diet based around beef, and rubber tapers will be able to do their jobs. It is a toxic environment for one to live in due to the quantities of carbon being released into the atmosphere; however, if we stop deforestation then society would be living on a much safer earth.


What Would You Do?

Picture this, you are a citizen living in Brazil undergoing deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest. However, you know many people around you and you need to afford land to build a house for your family. Are you going to support deforestation so you and the people around you can clear cut areas of land for housing developments? Or are you going to look at the bigger picture of the long-term effects of deforestation?