Biodiversity: The biological diversity. It is the variety of all forms of life on earth – plants, animals and microorganisms. It refers to the species (species diversity) variations within species (genetic diversity), and interdependence within species (ecosystem diversity) and habitat diversity.Importance:Plant biodiversity ensures a varied and interesting diet (more fruits, nuts, vegetables, etc make our diet more interesting and healthier).Greater biodiversity ensures sustainability for all aspects of food webs. Biodiversity provides medical remedies for humans, many of which we may not have discovered yet.It ensures the healthy circulation of nutrients in the nitrogen cycle.It creates a more diverse and interesting world to live in and promotes ecotourism (natural beauty). Varied ecosystems with high biodiversity are better able to recover from natural and manmade disasters.Creates a diverse gene pool, ensuring continued survival of flora and fauna. They can clean water in the hydrological cycle. Regulate climate (temperatures and rainfall). Causes of Deforestation in Brazil: Deforestation of new areas as well as an extension of old areas. It has partly been promoted by governmental policies. Agricultural colonization by landless migrants and speculative developers along highways and agricultural growth areas. Conversion of the forest to cattle pastures, especially in the eastern and south eastern Para and northern Mato Grosso.Mining, for example the Greater Carajas project in south-eastern Amazonia, which includes a 900km railway and extensive deforestation to provide charcoal to smelt iron ore, another threat of mining comes from small scale informal gold mine causing localized deforestation and contaminated water supplies.

Large scale hydroelectric power schemes such as Tucurui Dam on the Tocantins River. Forestry taking place in Para, Amazonas and northern Mato Grosso.Land speculation and the granting of land titles to those who occupy parts of the rainforest is major cause

HEP as many of the great river flow through the rainforest like the Amazon. Unfortunately, when a dam and reservoir are built it causes damage during construction, but also floods large areas.Other Causes of Deforestation: Drought (increases risk). Climate change (can cause drought). Timber exploitation. Selective logging (can create artificially dry forests by opening up canopy) . Lightening (the main natural cause). Land clearing (slash and burn agriculture during dry and windy conditions can cause major fires). Hunting takes two forms, one form is for bush meat to feed families and enough the sale of animals either alive e.g. parrots or dead for their skins e.g jaguars.Cattle ranching. Effects of Deforestation: Loss of biodiversity. Disruption to the circulation and storage of nutrients: Deforestation disrupts the closed system of nutrient cycling within tropic rainforests. Inorganic elements are realised through burning and are quickly flushed out of the system by high intensity rains. Surface erosion and compaction of soil: As a result of soil compaction, there is a decline in infiltration, an increase in overland runoff and surface erosion.Sandification: Sandification refers to the process of selective erosion. Raindrop impact washes away the finer particles of clay and humus, leaving behind the coarser and heavier sand. Increased flood levels and sediment content of rivers: As a result of soil erosion, rivers have a higher flood peak and shorter time lag. However, in the dry season river levels are lower, rivers have a greater turbidity (murkiness due to more sediment), an increased bed load, carrying more silt and clay in suspension. Climate change: Due to deforestation, there is a reduction of water that is re-evaporated from the vegetation; hence the recycling of water must diminish. Annual rainfall is reduced, and the seasonality of rainfall increases. Landslides: By removing trees and vegetation, you are making the soil less stable.Reduced photosynthesis: As more and more trees are removed the rate of photosynthesis reduces, releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and contributing to the greenhouse effect.Loss of indigenous homes: By clearing rainforests you are obviously destroying the homes of indigenous groups. But also moving close to indigenous groups can spread disease and alter local culture and traditions.Possible solution to deforestation in the Amazon: Rainforest National Parks (The Tumucumaque National Park)The Tumucumaque National Park is located in the Amazon Rainforest in NW Brazil. It was declared a National Park on 23rd August 2002. It is the world’s biggest tropical rainforest national park covering an area of 38,874km2. If you include the Guianan Amazonian National Park in French Guiana the protected area covers 59,174km2. The area is very sparsely populated, but rich in biodiversity including rare animals like jaguars and tapirs.The natural environment is fairly impassable with waterfalls, raging rivers and giant outcrops. As well as known species, it is expected to contain many yet undiscovered species. Although law protects Brazil’s national parks many still suffer from illegal logging, mining and hunting. The government department in charge of protecting the parks are underfunded and don’t even have adequate vehicles to survey the park. However, because the park was designated in conjunction with the WWF, it is hoped that it will receive international funding.National Parks are very important in attempts to protect biodiversity and indigenous groups, but they can also give rainforests an economic value through tourism. If you kill and animal or fell a tree you only receive money for it once. However, if you can encourage tourists to view the animals and vegetation you can create on going income.