For many years we have heard: Save the Rainforest! and we have been told about the importance of that forest for controlling CO2 emissions and global warming. According to FAO 2015, tropical forest area declined by 5.5 million ha per year between 1990 and 2015. (For the perspective: the total forest land of Sweden is about 22.5 million ha.) No solution is in sight. And to complicate matters, monitoring and “correct” quantification of forest loss remains very tricky.
The Market and Big Business are normally blamed as main culprits. Some major international companies (like Unilever, Nestlé, Cargill and IKEA) are requesting help to control forest loss, and propose that governments do more to assist companies whose products drive tropical deforestation. This is what a new survey of some of the world’s biggest producers and buyers of palm oil, timber, cocoa and rubber has found. Expansion of cultivation to grow these four agricultural commodities is recognised as a major cause of forest loss.
Producer companies based in developing countries are mentioned in the survey (like APP, Golden Agri Resources, Sime Darby in Indonesia). The international companies propose that Governments need to intervene by (1) arranging for clear and consistent policies on customary land tenure; (2) better and more effectively implemented policies on land use planning and the allocation of concessions; (3) stronger protection of forests that are rich in carbon and have high conservation value; and (4) tougher enforcement of existing laws. Source: FERN http://www.fern.org press release 30 March 2017
Here we get close to foreign interference in internal affairs, a source of irritation. Things can be smoothened through international agreements. The New York Declaration on Forests, signed by governments, the corporations mentioned, and NGOs at the UN Climate Summit in September 2014, committed its signatories collectively to ‘at least halve the rate of loss of natural forests globally by 2020 and strive to end natural forest loss by 2030’.
Agricultural commodities, including cattle products, soya beans, palm oil and commercial timber, are found to be the main drivers of deforestation globally. Regionally, also cocoa and rubber contribute.
(I note that coffee is not mentioned. Personally I have seen coffee plantations (which require partial shade and reasonably fertile soil) stepwise penetrate into the natural forest, for example in Central African Republic, or in Aceh province, Indonesia.)
The presence of palm oil in our daily life and diet is demonstrated on many web sites – an example is https://www.fool.sg/2014/04/22/5-things-you-should-know-about-golden-agri-resources/
http://www.naturetrailsindonesia.com By visiting national parks and forest reserves you will learn about Nature’s life-and-death issues. You will also help demonstrate to local administrators, entrepreneurs and residents that Nature has a value in its “natural” stage – it can bring in cash aside from the so called eco-system services. Nature does not have to be “liquidated” or converted to something else, or developed to remain “productive” or “profitable”. An example in Indonesia of an area under pressure is the Gunung Leuser National Park (Taman Nasional Gg Leuser). The situation there is drawing international attention since it is the last remaining area of contiguous forest where we find tiger, elephant, rhinoceros and orangutang roaming free in the same area. More to follow – – –