Forests are our lifelines

From the book “Collapse” by Jared Diamond

“More then half of the world’s original forests have been cut down or heavily damaged in the last 8,000 years.

Yet our consumption of forests products is accelerating, with the result that more then half of those losses have occurred within the past 50 years – for instance because of forest clearance for agriculture, and because world consumption of paper has increased five-fold since 1950.

Logging is often just the first step in a chain reaction: after loggers build access roads into a forested area, poachers follow those roads to hunt animals, and squatters follow them to settle.

Only 12% of the world’s forests lie within protected areas.

In a worst-case scenario, all of the world’s readily accessible remaining forests outside those protected areas would be destroyed by unsustainable harvesting within the next several decades, although in a best-case scenario the world could meet its timber needs sustainably from a small area (20% or less) of those forests if they were well managed.”

So the key word here is ‘well managed’. Something we haven’t done very well in the last 8,000 years. The questions is: When are we going to learn?

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