Brazil's Amazon rainforest comprises 30% of the world's remaining tropical forests and, besides providing shelter to one tenth of the world's plant and animal species, acts as a significant mechanism for removing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. According to the World Bank, just one acre of Amazon rainforest sequesters about 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.
In recent years, energy-related environmental problems, including oil spills, air pollution, flooding and deforestation have become a threat to Brazil's biodiversity and delicate ecosystems.
One of the main issues that Brazil faces today is the destruction of forests in tropical areas. In recent years deforestation has been concentrated in this part of the developing world, which lost nearly 200 million hectares between 1980 and 1995. This loss was partially offset by reforestation efforts, new forest plantations, and the gradual regrowth and expansion of forested area in developed countries. The result was a net loss of some 180 million hectares between 1980 and 1995, or an average annual loss of 12 million hectares.
Tropical forest ecosystems feature a variety of unknown biological species. This biodiversity has given scientists a major research source and destroying any undescovered species, could prove detrimental to the scientific community. Even though tropical forests account for less than 7 percent of the terrestrial surface, they are home to half or more of all plant and animal species. Also, tropical deforestation is a major component of the carbon cycle. Deforestation increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and other gases, which affect the climate, and as a result, affect all plants and animals.
While not responsible for deforestation, hunting and poaching cause damage to the rainforest ecosystem by removing species key to the system's functioning. The loss of a certain single species can mean extinction for...