I would say simply because we need the wood. Wood and paper products are some of our most common uses. In no way am I justifying the practice, but rather stating that it is simply need based and convenient since the trees are already mature. As a consumer, to discourage these practices you can look for sustainably grown trees and FSC certified products. There are also lots of programs out there where you can support organizations in planting trees and even act as an advocate against rainforest logging.
In Brazil, the Cerrado forest – that contains 130,000 species of plants and animals – is being cut down at a rapid rate, to clear room for cattle farming and crops. This land is used for the planting of soybeans in mass quantities supplied to China and Japan.
I would agree with jbenjami28, that the primary reason for the clearing of the rainforest is for agriculture. The land is more valuable as crop land and grazing land than it is as forests.
While some logging is allowed in the rainforest, there is still a lot of illegal logging going on. It has hard to enforce and even though we may want to set limits, companies may not always act ethically when it comes to their bottom line.
Additionally, for the lumber that we and other countries need, it is easier, although less ethical to get it from existing forests rather than plant a new one for the lumber needs. As nadeged said, there are lots of organizations that fight for saving and reforesting the rainforest, support them if you can.
There are many reasons that logging continues in the rainforest. But before I get into them all, let me start by saying that what we think and feel about rainforests being cut down differs from countries such as Brazil, where the rainforests are. We see the logging in rainforests as an awful act of destruction that’s continually eliminating many plant and animal species and destroying countless acres of trees and undergrowth. A place like Brazil, however, sees the cutting down of trees in rainforests as a great economic opportunity. Logging in the rainforests is a source of large money for them because of what logging does. Which leads me back to your question. Logging still exists for that sole reason: it’s a way to make big money. But specifically, logging allows trees to be used for timber, paper products, furniture, and other products. It clears land that can be then used by farmers to grow crops, keep livestock, and can be used to develop housing and other architecture. Wood for charcoal is gathered by logging, etc. The sad fact is, that our rainforests could disappear in just 40 years. “We are losing 137 plant and animal species every day, 157 acres every minute of every day, and 78 million acres every year” (Rainforest Facts).
I believe that money is the key factor. Many of the countries with rainforet are poor and the local people are impoverished. Large companies come and offer money to the government and local people to allow them to cut the threes. The trees may be used for building or paper or making furniture. Many trees are left behind and simply burned. Other trees are cut so large companies can ranch cattle.
The large companies are often foreign and have no understanding of local culture or nature. They simply exchange money. This is initially good for the country and local people because they are poor – they may not fully understand that there whole forest is going to be cut and this is bad in the long term.
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