The Future of the Rainforests
At the present rate of tropical deforestation, the world's remaining tropical
rainforests will vanish in just 30 years.
By working together we
can make a difference!
Deforestation in the
tropical areas of the world is following a course similar to the earlier clearing of the
forests in Europe and North America, only advancing more rapidly.
Since just 1950, the
world's population has more than doubled to more than 6 billion people, with the fastest population
growth being in the tropics.
Today, more than 3 billion people
live in the tropics alone, more than lived in the entire world in 1950.
To provide food, wood, fuel
and resources for the world's rapidly growing population, and to make room for the exploding
tropical population, the world's tropical rainforests are literally disappearing.
Even with tropical
deforestation at an all-time high, tropical hardwood prices continue to climb as world
demand for tropical hardwoods continues to grow. A single teak log for
example can now bring as much
Annual world consumption of
tropical hardwoods is now more than 250 million cubic meters, or over 100 billion board feet,
Southeast Asia until recently
has been the largest source of supply for tropical hardwoods, but that area will largely be
depleted within the next five years.
All of the primary forests
in India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh are gone. Ivory Coast's forests are essentially
non-existent. Nigeria's forests have been decimated as well.
As Asia's and Africa's
tropical forests are
depleted, consuming countries are turning increasing attention to Latin America
and the Amazon, whose own rapidly
growing population is also a source of pressure on the rainforests.
Also, trillions of dollars
worth of oil, gas, uranium,
gold, iron, bauxite and other minerals, and millions of acres of potential farm land, lie
under the Amazon, the largest area of rainforest remaining on Earth.
Amazon rainforests are
being cleared on a vast scale for settlements, logging, gold mining, petroleum, cattle
ranching, sugar cane (for gasohol), large hydro dams, and charcoal for smelting ore.
Peasant farmers also clear
the rainforest to have land for planting, by cutting the forest, and then in the dry season burning what they have cut.
During one month in
1995 for example, NASA satellite surveys of Brazil recorded 39,889 individual fires, up 370 percent
from the same month of the prior year. In neighboring Bolivia the smoke is sometimes so
thick that schools have to close and flights have to be delayed or canceled.
Scientists estimate that
until as recently as 10,000 years ago, the world had 6 billion acres of tropical
rainforests. By 1950, we had a little less than 2.8 billion acres of rainforest. It was
then being cut down at the rate of about 10 to 15 million acres per year.
Today we have less than 1.5
billion acres left, and we are clearing this remaining rainforest at the rate of
30 to 50
million acres per year, two to three times as rapidly as just a few decades ago.
If the present rate of
tropical deforestation continues, there will be nearly no tropical rainforests left in
just 30 years. Instead of holding steady however, the rate of deforestation is actually
predicted to increase even further.
Scientists project that the
rate of tropical deforestation will continue to increase for the next 10 to 15 years until
there simply will not be enough forest left to sustain the rate of cutting.
The chart below
dramatically illustrates the fate of the world's rainforests.
As the world's
population increases, and therefore the competition for land, food and resources also
increase, it appears that the world's rainforests will continue to fall at an
increasingly accelerating rate.
The newest data
dramatically confirm this.
- tropical deforestation is a very serious and growing
problem. Scientists may disagree on the details, but they all agree that the implications
for mankind are huge - in terms of possible global warming, increasing desertification
(the world's deserts are now growing 27,000 square miles per year), and loss of
biodiversity, to name a few
- we must do everything reasonable we can to protect the world's
- one important way to help is to plant tropical
hardwood trees for harvests, to produce tropical hardwoods that aren't taken from the natural
- as individuals, we may at times feel insignificant,
but by working together, we can indeed make a difference
- and by being an example for others, we can multiply
The latest statistics also
dramatically underscore the benefits of planting tropical hardwood
- as the world's population continues to increase in
numbers and prosperity, the demand for beautiful tropical hardwoods will continue to grow
- as country after country in the tropics depletes its
own supply of tropical forest and passes from being an exporter of tropical hardwoods to
having to import wood to fulfill its domestic needs, international demand for tropical
hardwoods will continue to grow dramatically
- as the world loses more and more rainforest, there will be
a rising imperative to protect the small amount of rainforest remaining
- as international demand for tropical hardwoods increases and
the availability of the natural rainforests as a source of supply of
decreases, both because of continued harvesting and because the
dwindling remaining forests will be increasingly protected, the prices of all tropical hardwoods
will likely soar
- there is substantial opportunity in planting nearly
any species of tropical hardwoods - and even more opportunity in planting tropical
hardwoods that are sought after for their beauty or unique properties.
- the following excerpts from two articles by
recognized investment professionals in Smart Money Magazine and the
Bloomberg Wealth Manager underscore the benefits of investing in trees
It is increasingly vitally
important to plant tropical hardwood trees for harvest and to protect the world's remaining tropical
It is also vitally important
to get the message out to others about the importance, and the wisdom, of
planting tropical hardwood trees for profit, not just because of the profit - although that is a wonderful incentive - but
also because of the benefit to the world.
With the help and faith of
our tree owners, with more than 2 million tropical hardwood trees planted to
date, we are beginning to make a difference.
We would love to have you
Together we can do even
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