Case study of human intervention: the Amazon

The short-term benefits of clearing rainforest areas include:

  • land for agriculture, houses and roads
  • jobs for local workers in road building, logging, agriculture, mining and construction
  • the generation of income (often in valuable foreign currency) for the LEDC when wood, minerals, and other resources are sold
  • scientific investigation into rainforest plants may provide new food sources and medicines
Aerial view of the Urucu oilfield in the Amazon rainforest
A village in a cleared area of rainforest

These benefits, however, come at a cost. Clearing rainforest threatens the survival of many plant and animal species and can lead to serious environmental degradation. Widespread deforestation damages the whole biosphere (the balance of living and non-living things) with serious long-term consequences.

The case study of human intervention in the Amazon looks at some of the issues around rainforest development.