Logging enables forest destruction
The selective removal of timber from the rainforest often favors the complete deforestation or burning of the area within a few years. Logging, especially along roads, makes it easier for agriculture to advance deeper into the forested areas.
The impact of the large jungle giants in particular opens up the canopy of the ecosystem and thus exposes it to the drying solar radiation, so that it can be more easily destroyed by slash and burn. Within a year, 16 percent of the rainforest used for the first time is transformed into pastures or soybean plantations, as researchers led by Greg Asner from the Carnegie Institute in Stanford have determined using satellite monitoring. After another three years, the clear cuts finally added up to a third of the original timber extraction area.
The removal of timber is often concentrated on a three-kilometer-wide strip on the other side of the road, but these areas would quickly be completely deforested even without this felling, according to the researchers. However, if the area of operation of the loggers expands further into the hinterland - up to a maximum of 25 kilometers from the road - it is obviously only this intervention that offers the possibilities for livestock farming and soy farms: Compared to intact rain forest areas, such selectively used areas become twice to four times as large in a short time often reclassified as agricultural land.
The evaluated satellite images also show that Indian reservations and protected areas are stopping deforestation or at least slowing it down significantly. The main driver for the rapid deforestation, which costs more than 20,000 square kilometers of rainforest area in Brazil every year, is the increasing global demand for soybeans for animal husbandry. However, several major consumers and international grain traders have now announced that they will stop using soy from freshly burned Amazonian land for the next two years.