A Biodiverse Breakfast

The reading for this week focused on The Rain forest, and factors that influence rain forest destruction.  the book was called Breakfast of Biodiversity and it was written by John Vandermeer and Ivette Perfecto.  I found this book to be somewhat repetitive of things I have learned in other classes involving the rain forest, and the exploitation of it, but this book did a good job of covering some broad themes, that were focused on in my other classes.

This is a picture of land cleared for Bananas as one can see it takes out huge swaths of forest in order to successfully make a banana plantation

The first chapter, gets right into the problems with banana plantations in Costa Rica, and how it promotes rain forest destruction.  From another class we discussed the history of bananas in the Americas, and it focused mainly on the ways United Fruit Company was able to make money from harvesting bananas.  As Vandermeer points out Costa Ricans, have a love hate relationship with bananas.  This goes to exemplify the problems big industry usually brings to areas outside their headquarters.  Costa Rica which is in debt openly welcomed the banana industry which promised money,  this is only at the expense of of forests.

This is a Coffee plantation doing similar damage as the banana plantation, Coffee production is another example of an agricultural enterprise that is suited for areas were rain forests occur.  This in turn leads to the destruction of forests to plant coffee.

Something that I began to realize, and that I feel Vandermeer really placed emphasis on is that deforestation is a result more of agriculture rather than large scale logging operations.  As he points out this is counter intuitive, mostly because the soils of Rainforests are poorly suited for cultivating crops, the only thing that the soils support well is Rain Forests.  Any agriculture, and money made there of is only going to be short lived.

Another problem associated with rain forests is that they are located in areas of poverty and unrest in most cases, and as stated above money is always needed in areas like this.  And as above, people begin to exploit resources in order to make money to get along, even if those resources are not going to sustain profit for very long, and in the case of the rainforest, agriculture is something that is short lived in these areas.

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