Mission 2006



Logging is described as the felling of the trees in the rainforest using artificial means (chainsaws, axes, bulldozers) for commercial purposes whether by large corporations or individuals.  Logging is of two possible types:
1. Monocyclic silvicultural system:  All trees in a given area is taken down
2. Polycyclic system:  Only a few specified trees in a given area is cut, leaving a majority of the rest standing.

1.  Shifting species composition:  Bare areas left in the forest results in competition which gives rise to more light-demanding, faster species of smaller plants, thus developing a secondary forest of pioneers, and exterminating the original inhabitants which were the big trees.

2.  Compacted soil:  The soil of the Amazonian rainforest is a a mixture of loam, sand and clay, making it very soluble in water.  Because there is no more roots to hold down the soil, it allows the soil to wash off with rain water, resulting in erosion and leaving the land barren; another side-effect of this eroded soil is easy take-over of the forest floor by creeping plants and ferns.

3.  Dammed streams:  High intensity logging can result in some trees damming up streams and without the presence of culverts, the water distribution is changed, killing nearby forest, and paving the way for the development of swamps.

4.  Vulnerability to fires:  The loss of canopy cover caused by cutting down all the large trees leave the remaining forest much more vulnerable to forest fires.

5.  Encourages other activities:  Clearing the forest and building roads on it provides easy access for such activities as large-scale hunting and poaching, fuel-wood gathering, clearing of land for agriculture.
In the year 2000, Greenpeace set up an office deep in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon to track and monitor illegal logging, map logging areas, and take action in Brazil and in the international marketplace against the offending companies.  They developed a technique to track illegal logging back to the exporting companies using ultraviolet paint.   Over the duration of their research, they collected some valuable statistical facts and figures to emphasize the extent of the illegal logging taking place in Brazil (2).

Logging Stats, Facts and Figures