Deforestation & Reforestation of Forests | Positive Impact Tourism
How much deforestation is the Earth facing? What are the effects? What programmes support it? And what has that got to do with tourism?
Direct causes of deforestation may be natural, such as hurricanes, fires, parasites and floods, or human activity, such as agricultural expansion, cattle breeding, timber extraction, mining, oil extraction, road and other infrastructure development.
Causes of deforestation may also be indirect: political, socio-economic or even cultural, due to failures in governance, land rights, corruption, conflicts and climatic changes.
Most deforestation occurs as a result of human activity: The main cause of deforestation is agriculture and for forest degradation is illegal logging (WWF).
Deforestation for land use for agriculture such as livestock farming is the most damaging: trees may go to timber logging commercialisation, but not only is carbon absorption lost, but livestock create additional emissions, and as forests are set on fire, so is precious wildlife and its habitat.
In Brazil and Indonesia, deforestation and forest degradation together are by far the main source of national greenhouse gas emissions ( Forest Carbon Partnership).
Amazon deforestation is mostly due to forest conversion for cattle ranching, to feed the global beef supply, plus soy production in Cerrado: intentional forest fires clear the land, most often unofficially: Under Brazil’s Forest Code, in force since 2012, in theory only 20% of land in forested parts of the Amazon can legally be converted for productive use by farmers. Yet, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) said in its 2019 satellite data showed an 84% increase in forest fires on the same period in 2018.
Such is the deforestion that the vital Amazon carbon store could flip from being an absorber of CO2 to a source of emissions as early as the mid-2030s due to escalating forest loss and slow growth ( Nature magazine).
Indonesia’s palm oil deforestation sees 80% of its fires to clear land for palm oil plantations, driven by consumer demand for millions of palm oil-containing products. Indonesia is the largest palm oil producer in the world, supplying 56% of the world’s palm oil last year, its number 2 export after coal. Its neighbour Malaysia supplies a further 28% ( Nikkei Asian Review, 2019).
Indonesia tropical rainforest deforestation also means the loss of biodiversity holding 10% of the world’s species of reptiles, birds, mammals, and fish, and vast amounts of carbon in soils and trees, much like the Amazon rainforest.
In Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, which produce 62% of the world’s cocoa, deforestation-free chocolate is not only elusive, despite the ground-breaking Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI), it’s also driving species like forest elephants and chimpanzees to the brink of extinction (Ethical Corporation).
Côte d’Ivoire has lost approximately 90% of its forests due to cocoa cultivation since independence, according to Mighty Earth. Extreme poverty forces farmers to illegally plant in protected areas amid declining yields from aging cocoa trees, lack of good agricultural practices, and shrinking suitable land area due to climate change (World Bank, 2017).
Understandably, farmers feel the need to be compensated if they are not able to use their land for production and give up the right to deforest their land — but available carbon funding is limited, and it’s costly to move from monoculture to sustainable agroforestry sustainable projects which have slow pay back to contribute meaningfully to farmer income. Farmers are so far below the poverty line, even if offered support, they are not necessarily able to take up such options
With logging, trees are cut down to make timber, or cellulose for the furniture or paper industry. Centuries-old trees and other economically unattractive trees which may have important biological and ecological value get cut down. Wood cutting causes serious damage to the ecosystem, damages amplified by construction of roads for transporting timber. Plus, illegal logging drecreases the price of timber.
In recent years, warming temperatures due to climate change have dried out trees making them more flammable, where as their previous humid nature made it hard to burn lush vegetation which acted as a firebreak, then contributing more carbon dioxide, which fuels heating in a feedback loop.
Travel and tourism can actually contribute positively to this!
Read on to learn more about:
- The Effects of Deforestation
- The Climate Crisis and Deforestation
- What is Redd, Redd+ or Redd++?
- International Day of Forests & World Planting Day
- What’s Forestation got to do with Tourism?
- Separating Afforestation/Reforestation and Carbon Offsetting
Originally published at https://www.earth-changers.com March, 2020.