Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Rain forest economics

The rainforests of the world are now down about 20% from what they originally were. The majority of the problem is due to croplands, cattle ranches and logging. The human population is expanding and is driving the demand for more land dedicated to food production. The forests are home to millions of species of plants and animals and with more loss to the forest then the more species will be lost. Studies are now suggesting that deforestation is slowing down through various means of effort, however deforestation still continues and it seems to be centered on illegal logging.
Many laws have been put in place to stop logging or at least limit it. This has caused numerous mills to go bankrupt and thousands have lost their jobs. As a result, some companies continued logging but it was more off of the books. Bribing also became a serious issue because it showed that companies that were either caught overharvesting or logging when they were supposed to be closed and getting away with it. If the companies were able to log, they could then sell the timber overseas without problems because no laws prevented it. In 2008, the Lacey Act was amended to make selling illegal timber a crime. Many countries have been fighting logging at every turn and the data is showing a decline. However, the forests are still disappearing.
           I think this is a good thing to happen for the forests and all of the plants and animals living in them, however, it is costing a lot of people their jobs and money. It is no surprise to see companies start illegally logging and bribing out of desperation. The bribing is one way of getting around the laws and it shows that even stricter laws are necessary and more effective overseers are required. With the rise in the human population continuing it will be difficult to stop deforestation completely. 

--Andy Feild

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