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In some cases deforestation can be beneficial Given the right mix of social needs economic opportunities and environmental conditions it can be a rational conversion from one type of land use to a more productive one It can lead to highways of communication being created Minerals that bring a country much needed capital can be used to create a better life for the peoples of that country In the long term these activities may be fuelling Brazils advance into a major trading power These are far reaching and all encompassing effects The tragedy lies in the fact that most lands that have been deforested in recent decades are not suited for long-term farming or ranching and they quickly degrade once the forest has been cut and burnt Unlike the fertile soils of temperate latitudes most tropical forest soils cannot sustain annual cropping The carrying capacity of the soil will not support intensive annual cropping without rapid irreversible degradation Similarly intensive cattle grazing cannot be supported because grasses grown on forest soils do not have the same productivity levels as those on arable soils In fact there are very few forested soils in developing countries today that are available for future agricultural expansion underscoring the urgent need to increase agricultural production on existing farmlands rather than converting more forests to farms In many cases political decision-makers knowingly permit deforestation to continue because it acts as a social and economic safety valve By giving people free access to forested lands the pressure is taken off politicians to resolve the more politically sensitive problems that face developing countries such as land reform rural development and power-sharing However it means conflicts spring up between groups in the rainforests Conservationist and loggers go head to head Miners and drillers may clash over a piece of land Nonetheless the problems do not go away They persist as do the injustices associated with them The local human social consequences of deforestation are
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