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In slash-and-burn agriculture, you first go through the thick tree cover with a machete and chop all the vegetation. That’s the slash. Then, you come back a few days or weeks later, when the vegetation has died and dried out a bit, and you start a big fire, like this one. That’s the burn. It’s happening on the edge of an undisturbed area of rainforest in the Amazon basin in Brazil.
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Commercial logging:Logging tropical hardwoods for exportation (teak, mahogany, etc) as well as other timber for furnitures, ply wood, etc , followed by other wood-related industries such as chipboard and cardboard. In addition, the paper industry requires a massive amount of pulpwood trees. In order to satisfy the world's demand, more and more of the rainforest is burned to the ground and replanted with pulpwood trees.
  • Cattle grazing:Ranchers need more pastures for their livestock. It is estimated that to raise one steer consumes two acres of the rainforest.Amazon rainforest covers 1,2 billion acres - 200,000 of them are burned every day at a rate of al least one per second.Grazing land degrades fast due to the lack of gradients and overgrazing, which means new rainforest land needs to be obtained to satisfy their needs.
  • Farming:It is estimated that less than 10% rainforest land is suitable for conventional agriculture. Soon gets exhausted after 3 or 4 crops due to its poor-gradients condition and the lack of sustainable cultivation practices.As a consequence, farmers move deeper into the rainforest in search of new, fresh land. Soybeam is the largest crop.
  • Road building:Since the 1970s, more than 9,000 miles of road have been built through the rainforest, endangering the environment as well as the lives of native Amazon tribes.
  • Hydroelectric dams:Dams have an impact on the local wildlife, affecting migratory fish and theAmazon Pink river dolphin for instance, and threaten the environment.
  • Mining operations:The Gold Rush in Brazil started in the 1980s, when gold was discovered in Sierra Pelada. Some 250,000 miners lived and worked in terrible conditions. There is a remarkable photo reportage done on the subject by Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado.To pursue mining operations, tons of mercury are released to the environment, causing irreparable damage to rivers, vegetation and animals.