Monday, January 10, 2011

Primary Causes of Tropical Forest Loss

Deforestation of the world’s tropical forests today arises from a mix of primary and secondary causes that often relate to one another. Primary causes, also called basic causes, refer to general conditions within a region’s economics and politics that lead to deforestation. Secondary causes exert more specific, direct actions on trees.

The underlying factors of tropical forest loss connect to local population lifestyles. Therefore, primary causes of tropical deforestation may be different from one continent to the next. In general, however, tropical forest degradation comes from the following primary causes:

• poverty
• overpopulation
• historical factors
• government policies
• exports to the international market

Poverty and overpopulation throughout the world force people to deforest their land; consequently plant and animal biodiversity declines, pollution increases, and climate change upsets ecosystems. Regional history also puts pressure on forested lands, especially in relation to the region’s poverty levels. Tropical forests exist mostly in developing countries, other than the forests of Hawaii and Australia. The history of these developing countries include a period of colonialism in which Great Britain, France, Spain, or Portugal took land away from native people who had managed it for generations. Over time, colonial management of the land’s resources tended to exploit those resources more than private owners would likely exploit their own land.

Financially poor countries additionally hold large international debt— money owed to other countries. In order to repay debt with high interest rates, developing countries may be tempted to harvest their natural resources for income. Government policies on debt repayment, natural resource management, and exports contribute to degradation of tropical forests. Exports help to pay off debt, but there exists another reason why developing countries have high amounts of exports: overconsumption in the industrialized world. High export levels from tropical regions may be attributed to the following four factors: overconsumption, excess waste, rampant development, and specialized markets in tropical woods, plants, birds, animals, and minerals. This problem has been described in a variety of ways; one term for the problem is the throwaway society. The International Food Policy Research Institute has gathered data on the world’s resources relative to world population, and many environmental scientists have summed up the results with the following phrase: “Twenty percent of the world’s population is using 80 percent of the world’s resources.” Said another way, consumerism threatens forests.

Source of Information : Green Technology Conservation Protecting Our Plant Resources

No comments: