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Challenges in Environmental Conservation

Posted on May, 20, 2014
Contributed to WCHV by Danielle

loggingIn the world of environmental conservation, there are many organizations that are continuously watching and working hard to safe guard the world’s environmental heritage.   One of these organizations is Greenpeace, which is now calling for more surveillance and conservation in the Amazon Rainforest. Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental organization with offices in over forty countries and with an international coordinating body in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The Amazon rainforest is home to a quarter of known land species on earth. The Amazon rainforest also known in English as Amazonia or the Amazon Jungle, is a moist broadleaf forest that covers most of the Amazon Basin of South America. This basin encompasses 7,000,000 square kilometres (2,700,000 sq mi), of which 5,500,000 square kilometres (2,100,000 sq mi) are covered by the rainforest belonging to nine nations. The Amazon represents over half of the planet’s remaining rainforests, and comprises the largest and most biodiverse tract of tropical rainforest in the world, with an estimated 390 billion individual trees divided into 16,000 species. However, illegal logging which is one of the biggest threats to the Amazon rainforest is threatening this amazing eco-system. Illegal loggers invade protected areas, including ecological reserves and indigenous land, and degrade forests through overharvesting. And, it’s not just the forest that suffers. Locals in Brazil who speak out against illegal logging often face violence and death threats and even assassination. As a result, rainforest habitat for many animals like the jaguar, spider monkey, and three-toed sloth is also under attack. 

In a latest campaign, Greenpeace states that illegal timber operations in Brazil are hacking apart this iconic forest. But many American companies like Lumber Liquidators import and sell Amazon wood because this forest crime is out of sight and as a result out of mind. American flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators even buys timber from a Brazilian state where 78% of the wood is illegally harvested according to Greenpeace. 

Earlier this month, Greenpeace activists blockaded one of Brazil’s major timber exporters, bringing the operation to a standstill as reported by Greenpeace.  Illegal logging is possible because companies like Lumber Liquidators don’t really know where their lumber comes from. Greenpeace’s investigation demonstrates how criminals are able to launder illegal timber and disguise it as “legal” for the market all while using official Brazilian government documents.

According to Greenpeace, the only way to stop Amazon destruction, is by asking U.S. companies not to buy into Amazon crime.  In only five months, Greenpeace has reported being able to convince some of the biggest global companies to commit to forest-friendly policies that could lead to creating real change for forests.

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