FOREST CONSERVATION NEWS TODAY Amazonian Rainforests: Surging Threats, Never Lose Hope
November 4, 2002 OVERVIEW & COMMENTARY by Forests.org
The pace of Amazonian rainforest loss and diminishment is accelerating from a variety of causes. The following articles emphasize emerging threats such as soybean production and massive new infrastructure projects; as well as mahogany logging, which is an existing but still growing cause of deforestation. As Bill Laurance (in my opinion the World's preeminent rainforest scientist) states: "Historically, the Amazon has been nibbled away at the edges, but now what's been happening is like somebody going right in and chopping it right up."
The solution? Brazil and other countries with remaining large primary forests must be paid to maintain these critical ecosystem engines in an intact and fully operable state. Governments and forest dwellers will need to be "encouraged not to cut down trees by being offered a system of rewards." This will require financing strict protection of most remaining primary, old-growth and important remnant forests suitable for restoration; and embedding small and medium scale eco-forestry practices practiced by local forest dwellers in this intact ecological matrix.
Such an ecologically based landscape approach is the only meaningful definition of "sustainable forestry" in the Earth's remaining ancient forests. The World's weather patterns, carbon cycling, biodiversity and many other requirements for ecological sustainability depend upon protecting and restoring large forest expanses. Ending commercial scale development of ancient forests is a global imperative - and the over-developed countries must pay the not yet over-developed countries to maintain critical ecological systems. Below is a good collection of recent Brazilian rainforest conservation news, much more of which can be found at: http://forests.org/brazil/ .
Clearly the World's forests, with only 20% their pre-human agricultural extent still existing in primary and mostly natural forest cover, have been over-exploited and have overshot their capacity to sustain global ecological processes and patterns. One can never lose hope that one day - before ecological collapse is assured - humanity will embark upon the age of ecological restoration which will require strictly protecting large remaining natural areas as its basis. Never lose hope - the sooner we commence, the more likely we will succeed. g.b.
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ITEM #1: Title: Lust For "Green Gold" Drives Amazon Destruction International Mahogany Trade Reeks of Power, Corruption and Blood Source: Greenpeace USA Action Alert! Date: October 30, 2002
The wood oozes glamour and prestige in the gleaming showrooms of the north. But its plunder drives the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, corruption and even murder.
The wood is mahogany, but it's also known as "green gold". For good reason. One log earns an astonishing $130,000 by the time companies like Stickley furniture transform it into the solid mahogany dining tables for sale in such places as family destination Colonial Williamsburg.
Read More: http://www.greenpeaceusa.org/features/greengold.htm
Take Action! Urge Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, The White House Council on Environmental Quality, and the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs to support the addition of mahogany to CITES appendix II. http://www.greenpeaceusa.org/bin/actionframe.pl?action_id=151
ITEM #2: Title: Another theme for Lula's team: mahogany Priorities include the Atlantic Forest and changes in the Forest Code Source: O Estado de S.Paulo Date: October 30, 2002 Even before he takes office, the President-Elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will have to decide if he will support proposals to include mahogany in Annex II of CITES convention. At the beginning of November, the Environment Minister, Jose Carlos Carvalho, will present the new government's position at the CITES meeting in Chile. Mahogany is already included in Annex III of the CITES convention, which imposes restriction on its exploitation. Sectors of the current government are opposed to the inclusion of mahogany in Annex II. Under Annex II regulations, the exportation of the endangered species would depend on the importer having a licence. The co-ordinator of Greenpeace's Amazonia campaign, Paulo Adario, disagrees. "The inclusion in Annex II would open up the international market to Brazil", he said. He added that English importers no longer want to buy Brazilian mahogany because its legality could not be proved. Minister Carvalho does not consider the question to be urgent because "Brazil has already imposed a moratorium on the exploitation of mahogany until March". The co-ordinator of Forest Resource Management at IBAMA, Paulo Fontes, thinks that increased vigilance, incentives for management and the creation of lines of credit for management projects, would be more efficient in the control of mahogany than its inclusion in Annex II. He said that there are studies which prove the existence of mahogany stocks and the species' capacity for regeneration. "We need to show that the standing forest is more profitable", said Fontes. Without this change in attitude, he said, the country will continue to see fires, deforestation and illegal extraction. Guatemala and Nicargua proposed the inclusion of the species in Annex II alleging that producing countries need international assistance to prevent the extinction of mahogany. Mahogany is one of the principal environmental questions facing the current government and Lula's future government, along with the preservation of the Atlantic Forest and proposed changes to the Forest Code.
Title: Brazil pressed not to fell rainforests Source: Copyright 2002 Reuters Date: November 1, 2002
LONDON - Environmentalists battling to save the Amazon rainforest said yesterday that Brazil should be encouraged not to cut down trees by being offered a system of rewards.
Supported by new findings, ecologists are to present a major new action plan aimed at saving one of the world's most precious natural resources from extinction.
The plan will be put forward to South American government representatives meeting in London yesterday.
Roberto Smeraldi, Amazon director of Friends of the Earth, told Reuters that under the plan, Brazil should be compensated for not felling its forests. "There is no alternative," he said.
He called for crop diversification and more productive cattle ranching in the short term.
Research has suggested unchecked greenhouse gas emissions could spell an end to the rainforests and lead to extreme weather phenomena such as that produced by the El Nino effect.
Brazil is planning huge transport and hydroelectric schemes over the next five years. But ecologists warned that that planned dams could mean flooding an area of rainforest equivalent to half the size of Britain.
Over the next two decades, Brazil's development programmes could devour more than 40 percent of the rainforest, the plan says in a contribution from Bill Laurance from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.
Amazonia accounts for much more of the world's rainfall than previously supposed, recent research shows, and ecologists fear that deforestation will threaten the world's water supply.
Studies have suggested that the Amazon rainforest may be soaking up carbon dioxide belched out by industry. The forest could mop up as much as eight percent of man's annual emissions.
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Glen Barry M.S., Ph.D. (abd) President Forests.org, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org