Science

Amazon Rubber Boom Leads To Wildlife Loss

By Rodney Rafols , Oct 17, 2016 03:00 AM EDT

Our environment plays a vital role in global warming and climate change. It also plays a role for much of wildlife. Modernization and the expansion of human habitat have adversely affected wildlife and forests. The Amazon is one of the rainforests that has been affected as rubber plantation has reduced its area.

In the late 19th century Brazil had a rubber boom, though that gave way to decline later on. While the rubber boom declined, many wildlife in the Amazon had been exploited for their furs, as Science Daily reports.

Animal hides and furs had become the next products for sale as competition has driven the rubber boom in Brazil to an end. Much of the wildlife in the Amazon was affected by it until protection and preservation laws came into effect. This has been the conclusion of the study made by researchers led by Andre Pinassi Antunes of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Brazil.

Data from 1904 until 1969 show that an estimated 23 million animals from both mammals and reptiles had been used in the hides and furs trade. The number could possibly be even higher as much of those animals killed were largely unreported.

"These figures, no doubt, vastly underrepresent the total number of animals killed since many were hidden to avoid taxes and others were wounded or killed and never made it to the steamships," explained Taal Levi, co-author and wildlife ecologist from Oregon State University said. Still, other animals were killed for food the hunters, according to the report from Oregon State University.

Not only were land mammals and reptiles were affected. The study has shown that aquatic species had some of the greatest losses. Giant river otter, black caiman, and manatee were some of the species that reported great population losses. Terrestrial species were also affected, though they were able to rebound more quickly than most other species.

The fur and hid exploitation reached its peak during World War II in the Amazon when rubber was needed to replace the ones being taken from Malaysia. Another peak came in the 1960s when exotic furs became a fashion trend.

In 1967 Brazil passed laws that severely restricted hunting affected species. By 1975 the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) came into effect, which further protected Amazon wildlife. The current study hopes to have it used for further policies that would protect wildlife there.

Earlier there has been a report that small-scale agriculture could also affect rainforests

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