Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!

Geography

Human uses of rainforests

Human intervention in tropical rainforests can bring both benefit and harm. Watch the video to find out why.

Video

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions

Key points

  • Humans intervene in tropical rainforests to bring real or imagined benefits for them and the locals.
  • There are some short-term benefits to clearing rainforests. You can improve transportation and provide jobs by building roads and airports.
  • There are many disadvantages too. Clearing land for farming, transport and mining leads to deforestation.
  • Profits from selling products often go back to MEDCs and don't benefit rainforest communities.
  • Fertile soils that make farming possible are quickly washed away when the forest is cleared.
  • Agro-forestry is growing trees and crops at the same time.
  • Selective logging is where trees are only felled when they reach a certain height.
  • Forest reserves are areas protected from exploitation and maintained as natural environments.
  • Afforestation is planting new trees to replace those cut down.

All Geography videos

Ecosystems - the living world index

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.