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Preventing the Depletion of Forests
Modern developments and population increase have continued to have significant impacts on the natural resources. Indeed, the increase in human population pose pressure to the existing resources as man seeks land for building, farming, recreation, industrialization and other things. This paper provides a keen focus on the environment with special emphasis on the depletion of trees. Notably, it considers various articles, which address the plight of the world forests.
Pearce raises attention to the alarming condition of the Amazon forest. Satellite photos show green areas parched with the brown areas: the latter shows the parts in which trees have been cut down. Interestingly, the local indigenous tribes such as the Kayapo inhabit the green parts that hold the forest cover. According to Daniel Nepstad, for many years, the Kayapo community has proactively kept the rates of deforestation close to zero. They control close to 10.6 million hectares of the forest along the Xingu River in the southeastern part of the Amazon. Notably, this community has intensely fought against the depletion of the forest in many ways. Pearce notes that they have persistently held back deforestation by often repelling the loggers, cattle ranchers, gold miners, and the soya farmers (Pearce, 2015). As well, David Ray reports that the deforestation rates in Mexico’s community-owned forests have been significantly lower compared to the protected areas. Thus, surprisingly, the local communities provide an even stronger force against deforestation than the government departments (Pearce, 2015).
One of the global strategies towards curbing world deforestation is the REDD. REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. Notably, it is an international agreement on the climate change established in Paris. The idea in REDD is to have vast areas of forests under protection as ‘carbon sinks’ (Pearce, 2015).
Andrew Steer notes that communities that have legal rights to land are better placed to conserve the forests. However, the logistical, legal, and scientific barriers do not favor such a stand. The government and environmental rights agencies and corporations only purport to save the forests but end up in what Pearse terms as the ‘green grab’ (Pearce, 2015).
The idea of carbon credits is increasingly becoming a subject of keen debate and discussion in the international environmental arena. Indeed, it approaches forestation and the related issues from the point of the protecting the forests due to their potential carbon contents. For instance, the coalition for the rainforests led by Papua-New-Guinea championed for this proposal. Accordingly, they proposed that polluters could buy carbon credits from the communities, governments, and the companies to offset their emissions (Spanne, 2012). Ideally, the ‘overspending’ countries could buy additional gas credits from the under-budgeted countries by paying into the clean development fund. By so doing, they can facilitate the developing countries to ‘grow clean’ (LaFranchi, 1997).
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) estimated that deforestation is the second largest contributor to the global carbon emissions after the burning of fossil fuels. Notably, UNFCCC estimate that deforestation contributes to approximately twenty percent of the global carbon emissions (Spanne, 2012). According to the scientists, the greenhouse gasses contribute to the increase of global temperatures. Interestingly, they warn of the dire consequences of the increased temperatures to the human survival. Countries party to the Kyoto caucus on the environment fears for the economic and development impact of tough environmental restrictions. For instance, they claim that the restrictions on carbon emissions will inhibit economic growth and employment for many people. On the other hand, the EU is pushing for steeper cuts ion the emissions (LaFranchi, 1997)
Interestingly, since the drafting of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, the member countries have not come to a firm agreement on how to respond to this situation. Critics claim that measuring the amounts of carbon in the forests was prone to error and unreliable. Additionally, some critics argue that protection of particular forests could shift the deforestation to the adjacent areas, not under the surveillance. In addition, there was fear of the governments and environmentalists willingness to safeguard the interests of the indigenous communities living in the forested lands (Spanne, 2012).
In order to address this problem, several certification programs are helping to encourage the REDD pilot projects to stick to higher environmental standards and protection of the communities. At present, these groups include the Verified Carbon Standard and the Climate, Biodiversity and Community Alliance (Spanne, 2012).
Indeed, the question of carbon credits is of significant concern considering that the largest contributors to the global carbon emissions are the developed countries. Thus, any environmental consensus should provide fair environmental compensation to the developing countries. According to the Brazilian delegates, the truce must ensure that the developed countries offer a fair deal that allows the developing countries to ‘grow clean’ (LaFranchi, 1997).
Certainly, the depletion of trees has had adverse effects on the human population. Indeed, there is a need for speedy measures to address this situation. The world is already experiencing the effects of tree depletion through conditions such as the global warming. Thus, it is the role of all stakeholders to curb lumbering and deforestation. Additionally, as pointed out, governments and other environmental stakeholders should enact policies, which provide the indigenous communities with rights to the land.
LaFranchi, H. (1997). Is Burning of Amazon all smoke? Christian Science Monitor, 89(247),1-2
Pearce, F. (2015). Green Grab, Red Light. Retrieved April 15, 2015 from http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22530100.200-to-save-the-rainforest-let-the-locals-take-control.html#.VSs9Ak90wdV
Spanne, A. (2012). Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). NACLA Report on the Americas, 45(3), 67-67.
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