Save Our Earth : Campaigning to save the Tropical Rainforests

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The Rainforests - Why Are We Campaigning?

The Rainforests > Why Are We Campaigning?

Author: Denise Tansley

The Rainforests are home to a wide diversity of plants and wildlife, yet as humans, we are willing to let all of these species be made extinct within our lifetime. The trees are felled by whatever means such as axes, chainsaws or bulldozers.

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One fifth of the World is covered by trees and this is shrinking daily. At the current rate, the size of England and Wales is disappearing every year or in other terms, the size of a football pitch every second! To sum up the figures, around 40% of the World's primary tropical forests have been destroyed.

Following centuries of deforestation in Europe and North America, the situation has now been stabilised but the trees that have grown are temperate forests which are much easier to replace and the soils are less vulnerable to erosion than the thinner soils that support tropical forests.

Although controls were introduced to prevent deforestation of the last 200 years in Europe and North America, the richer economies still look to wood for construction, paper, furniture as well as fuel. But they do not look for it in their own backyard, they look to the countries with lesser controls. The people in these countries look to the forests as a source of income for their people - these people need alternative incomes!

Cattle grazing is one of the largest contributing factors to the mass deforestation. The demand for beef in the North American market has less to many thousands of acres being raised to the ground and replanted with grass.

Agriculture is another factor. When the forest is burnt, grain is sowed. The soil, fresh with ash, may give a good harvest for the first year but subsequent years, the rain washes away the nutrients and eventually the land is left barren. The farmers then move on to another area of forest....

In the 1960's in China, farmers were encouraged by government policies to fell as many trees as possible for the expanding agriculture needed to support their population. Eventually the rain washed the soil into the Yellow River (aptly named) which then carried the silt to the sea. With the increased amount of silt on the river bed, much of the regions around the Yellow River suffer from heavy flooding.

(Source: Battle For The Planet by Andre Singer 1987)

With the recent Kyoto and Bonn treaties, nations signed their commitment to the environment. This sounds all well but and its a big but...the USA doesn't want to cut its emissions, too expensive for their industry, so they want to buy areas of the rainforest to use as 'carbon-sinks', something that Environmental groups are strongly against. To save the Earth, the forests need to be protected and environmental pollution needs to be cut. The USA has a responsibility under the Kyoto and Bonn treaties to reduce emissions and being one of the largest nations on Earth, they have a responsibility to set by example.

See Articles and Information for more details on what will happen if the forests are not saved.

Document last updated on Wednesday 01 August 2018

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