Illegal logging in Brazil

Can you imagine a tree being able to say “Help, I’ve been chopped down!” whenever someone cuts it down? The Brazilian government has come up with a new plan to stop people from illegally chopping down trees in the Brazilian part of the Amazon Rainforest. A tracker, about the size of a pack of cards, will be attached to the trees. When a tree is cut, the tracker will be automatically activated. The tracker will then wait to be within 20 miles (32 km) of a cellular network. Once it detects a mobile signal, it will send a help message with its location. Agents can then rush in and catch the thieves. One of the issues with the trackers is that their battery life is about a year.

Illegal logging (chopping down trees without permission) has been a serious problem in the Amazon which has led to shrinking of the rainforest. People sell the trees, which are then used to make paper, furniture, homes, and many other things. People also chop down trees to make space for farming and cattle ranches. Cutting down trees and clearing parts of the rainforest is called “deforestation”. For the last 25 years, the Brazilian government has been tracking the annual rates of deforestation for its part of the Amazon Rainforest. The good news is that last year, it was at the lowest annual rate it has been since the government started tracking the numbers. The bad news is that even though it was at its lowest rate, about 1,800 square miles (4,600 square kilometres) of the forest was destroyed in a year (that’s almost a soccer field wiped out every minute).

The Amazon Rainforest is the largest rainforest on our planet, and is about two-thirds the size of the United States. It is shared by 9 countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname, French Guiana (a part of France), and Guiana. The largest part is in Brazil followed by Peru. The rainforest gets its name from the Amazon River, the second longest river in the world, which flows through it. Amazon Rainforest’s importance can be judged by some of its nicknames – the “jewels of the planet” (about 30% of the world’s species live there), the “lungs of the planet” (about 20% of the world’s oxygen is produced there), and the “pharmacy of the world” (many medicinal products originate there).

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world (by both area and population). Its capital is Brasília, and its official language is Portuguese. A famous landmark of Brazil is the Christ the Redeemer statue (a tall statue of Jesus Christ overlooking the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro). Here is a short video on the Amazon Rainforest.

Did you know? If the Amazon Rainforest was treated as a separate country, it would be the 7th largest country in the world (by area).


Image Credits:  Artyominc for Christ the Redeemer statue’s