It is alarming as to what it is exactly that is driving the rates of deforestation across the globe. Cleared spaces are there to make way for planting of soybeans, oil palm, cutting of trees for the wood industry, cattle breeding and the ever-creeping threat of urbanisation.
Increased government incentives, in the form of loans and infrastructure spending, in conjunction with the scaling-up of the private sector, who are intently focused on their growing interest of “emerging markets” and rising domestic wealth, means a higher demand for commodities such as beef, soy, sugar, and palm oil.
To summarise, governments place more importance on the growth of the economy than on the lasting effects of cutting down trees. Its a simple case of, what is good for us now outweighs the problems of the future. This is where the problem lies, the greater need for forward and future thinking with an economic benefit pushed to the fore.
With such a valuable resource to the planet being a scientific fact. – the question that should be asked is who is then responsible for its preservation? The largest rain forest in the world, the Amazon, is shared by nine countries. With one country in particular taking a clear majority which is concerning.
By order of largest to smallest area are:
- French Guiana.
Brazil has about 65% of the total, Peru 11% and French Guiana just 1%. A question should be raised around the management of these vital resources on a global scale. If this is so important to the world, why does everyone not have a say in the management of these resources. This is a topic that would cause a very interesting debate, but the question should be raised. Especially after the tragic fires in Brazil not too long ago which can be attributed to deforestation, climate change and questionable leadership.
The roadmap to disaster is sadly, already written. The largest case study for the effects of deforestation as a reference can be pointed at Borneo, who became the largest timber exporter in the world at an incredible cost to the environment.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the forests of Borneo were flattened at a rate unprecedented in human history, burned, logged and cleared, and commonly replaced with agriculture.
The deforestation continued through the 2000s at a slower pace, alongside the expansion of palm oil plantations. Half of the annual global tropical timber procurement is from Borneo, and much of the forest clearance is illegal. So if change is not on the cards, we are all in for very bumpy ride.