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Deforestation between economic growth and planet threat

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Amazon region is the least economically developed in Brazil, but has a huge importance for the terrestrial environment and climate, as it contains 40% of the world's tropical forests.


Researchers analysed 286 Amazonian cities, with different degrees of deforestation. They examined changes in the longevity, literacy rate and per capita income. They observed a rapid improvement in quality of life in the early deforestation.

These economic gains take place because the populations have obtained material resources such as timber, minerals, surfaces converted to pasture for animals and soybean crops, said Anna Rodriguez, from The functional and evolutionary ecology center in Montpellier, France, author of the study that appeared in the Journal Science.

Higher revenues generated by these activities, combined with newly built roads increased level of access to education, healthcare and led to a general improvement in living conditions.

But research has shown that these gains in living standards are not sustainable and that the development falls again below the national average as soon as people finish the exploitation of natural resources resulting from deforestation.
'We initially found that deforestation produces an improvement in income, life expectancy and literacy, but these gains are not for long' - said Rob Ewers, from Imperial College London, UK, author of the study, cited by AFP.
Decline of economic development that occurs in deforested areas after resources have been exhausted is often followed by abandonment of those lands. Since the early 90s, one third of the deforested areas converted to pasture has been abandoned.

'The current development of the region is not desirable from the human point of view and is potentially disastrous for the other species and climate,' said Andrew Balmford, professor at Cambridge University in Britain, another author of the research. He noted that reversing this trend will be difficult.
However, discussions that are taking place to prepare for UN conference on climate in Copenhagen in December could lead to a solution. The idea is that industrialized countries should pay poorer ones, such as Brazil, because they maintain the carbon dioxide stored in their tropical forests.
Their deforestation is responsible for approximately 20% of global emissions of greenhouse gases, according to scientists.
Since 2000, 155,000 square kilometers of tropical forests were deforested.

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