People in the Amazon Basin are clearing Amazon forest area to create a livelihood. In Brazil and other South American countries there is a great discrepancy between rich and poor. Raising cattle and other agriculture activities are being implemented to produce subistence to live from day to day and year to year. Economic improvement needs to go hand-in-hand with preservation to ensure the Amazon is preserved.
People cut down the rainforest for cattle ranching because they see cows to be an immediate cash crop and do not appreciate the long-term value that a rainforest can provide. The cattle produced on these ranches is often sent to wealthy industrialized nations to meet the immense demand for beef in them. Cattle is also farmed in order to easily gain title to the land, which serves as a profitable hedge against often high inflation rate in Latin American countries. In addition, cattle is not as suceptible to sudden price changes or pest infestations as other cash crops are.
As ignorant and selfish as this permanent act might seem, I think many of us would do the same thing if we were in their position. A poor farmer who is deciding whether he wants to eat this year or save the rain forest is probably going to choose to eat. While that is probably a hyperbolic example I think that mentality is the justification people use to cut down the rain forests. I can’t entirely blame them personally, especially since I like beef and probably somewhat contribute to the high prices that beef production yields.
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