One of the most pressing environmental issue at that moment is deforestation. Deforestation poses more threats than what meets the eye. Not only does it cause harm to the environment, but it has negative impacts on the local communities. There are many health risks that are associated with deforestation as well. For instance, by cutting down mass amounts of trees, areas become more susceptible to infectious diseases such as malaria. Along with the negative though, there are some benefits to logging. Logging creates jobs, boasts the economy, and opens lands for agricultural purposes. It creates a way of life for people who otherwise would not have work.
Do the benefits outweigh the negatives though? I don’t think that they do. Logging has created, and is still creating, many long lasting environmental problems. The major concern with logging is the issue concerning carbon dioxide. Trees are one of the main sources of uptake for carbon dioxide in our environment. By destroying vast amounts of forests, humans are disrupting nature’s equilibrium. The Rainforest Alliance is an internationally recognized organization that was created to help preserve and protect the environment. The Alliance has developed many plans to help promote sustainable forestry so that we can ensure that logging is conducted responsibly and the ecosystems are protected.
Along with the Alliance, many of the major logging nations of the world are beginning to realize these negative effects. They are adopting policies that in turn are being modified and adopted by other nations. For example, Indonesia’s Asia Pulp and Paper adopted a zero-deforestation policy that went into effect on February 1, 2013. The policy is meant to completely end deforestation within Indonesia. Brazil on the other hand adopted a bill that revised their Forest Code. This bill actually eased the restrictions on landowners to allow them to clear land close to riverbanks. After this adoption though, deforestation in Brazil was at its lowest recorded figure since 1988. Brazil’s environment minister still would like to see deforestation levels in the Amazon to drop to 3,900 square kilometers per year by 2020.
On top of this, at a UN international climate change summit that took place in September of 2014 in New York City, the New York Declaration on Forests was created. This declaration was signed by over 30 countries and 40 large companies. The plan is to end deforestation entirely by the year 2030.
Do you think that the measures that are being taken to reduce deforestation are enough? Do more nations need to get involved? Should there be international restrictions set for deforestation? If more nations sign onto the New York Declaration do you think it would evolve into customary international law that would make mass deforestation illegal? What would you do to help reduce deforestation to a minimum?
Photo: The Telegraph