The lush green dense tropical rain forests spread across Africa, Asia and South America may soon be lost from the face of the green planet if ways are not implemented to stop indiscriminate felling. According to the latest data available from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), deforestation is wiping 13 million hectares of forest from our planet every year with Africa leading the way. Around 1% of Africa’s forests are lost every year. The situation is equally alarming in the Amazon and other South African forests where cattle grazing and soy cultivation is causing forests to be cleared. Palm cultivation in the archipelagos of Indonesia is causing devastation of the forests there.
The loss of the rain forests worldwide is paving the way for global warming to spread its devastating tentacles. In the recently concluded climate conference held in Bali, Indonesia, the environmentalists declared,
If we lose forests, we lose the fight against climate change.
While the intimate relation between the devastation of rain forests and global warming is well known but the governments of the countries in which these forests are concentrated are reluctant, if not helpless in controlling deforestation. The tropical rain forests are spread across countries whose population is poor and heavily dependent on agriculture as their means of livelihood. Lack of industrialization and primitive cultivation methods have resulted in continued felling of trees. The high price of expensive woods like mahogany has also resulted in felling of the trees. Unless the developed world thinks of helping the poor population in these regions with alternative sources of livelihood, no effort of preserving the rain forests will work. The sorry state of affair that shows the tussle between man and natural wealth for survival can aptly be summed up by these words of a Nigerian tree plantation director
But we breathe the air and our bellies are empty. Can air give you protein? Can air give you carbohydrates? It would be easy to convince people to stop clearing the forests if there was an alternative.