Mother Nature - Under Siege
MOTHER NATURE - UNDER SIEGE
“He, who cuts a tree, cuts short his life.” – A Chinese Proverb.
Trees and man – the ties that intricately bind them has existed since the dawn of time. To stand under the cool shade of a single tree reposes a tired and exhausted person from the scorching heat of the sun. No park will ever possess the serenity and the pleasing ambiance that a forest of trees radiates. To frolic and explore the natural beauty of a rain forest provides a first-hand education of the depth and complexities of life which no high-tech media could render. Yes, the rain forest is the richest storehouse of genetic knowledge on the planet.
The earth is like a mother who cuddles and nurtures all living entities. The forest and trees are like the earth’s heart and lungs. The tree literally “inhales” carbon dioxide and “exhales” oxygen. As the veins and arteries depend on the heart, so also do most river systems that originated from the forest, or from lands that was once the forested. The great mighty rivers in the world like the Amazon, the Ob-Irtysh in the western Soviet Union, the Congo in Africa and Columbia in the United States were all once forested. Many watersheds were once forested or had been long ago under the thick umbrella of trees.
Like the lungs of the earth, the trees breathe in carbon dioxide which becomes part of the forest biomass of wood, leaves and bark. The oxygen that the trees release adds to the atmosphere oxygen concentration. In many ways, the forest is like giant solar battery which stores the sun’s energy by converting the carbon dioxide and the water into living tissue.
Shrinking More than Ever
True enough, with gone the whole ecosystem becomes destroyed. Land erosion cascade down when typhoons come due to the absence of forest-cover. The valuable rich topsoil, which took over thousands of years to build up, are just reduced to muddy sediments settling and obstructing river systems. Without the forests, the high quality of water will not be maintained and seasonal water flow cannot be regulated. Consequently, the whole bloodstream of agriculture, industry and the human communities will be adversely affected. All these taste bitterly. What how about of the millions of species dwelling in that environment.
Long before the agriculture was used, an estimated 6.2 billion of hectares covered the earth’s surface with rich forests and open woodland at about 10,000 years ago. Today with the monstrous rise of industrialization, the total forest land has shrunk to about 4.3 hectares – a loss nearly one third – and this is continuously shrinking.
Facts about the Global Coverage of Rain forests:
• Fact: Covering less than 2 percent of the Earth's total surface area, the world's rain forests are home to 50 percent of the Earth's plants and animals.
• Fact: Rain forests can be found all over the world from as far north as Alaska and Canada to Latin America, Asia and Africa.
• Fact: Rain forests are found on every continent across the Earth, except Antarctica.
• Fact: There are two major types of rain forest: temperate rain forests and tropical rain forests.
• Fact: The largest temperate rain forests are found on North America's Pacific Coast and stretch from Northern California up into Canada.
• Fact: Temperate rain forests used to exist on almost every continent in the world, but today only 50 percent – 75 million acres – of these forests remain worldwide.
SOURCE - http://www.nature.org/rainforests/explore/facts.html
With the destruction of forest occurring during the past centuries, the total atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration has increased to one fifth from 90 to 180 billion tons since 1860. Carbon dioxide emissions from the land come from vegetation forest, fossil fuel burning industry, home heating and cooling systems, and cars. What is more the point of consideration is this annual increase of carbon dioxide added with other green house gases is closely related with the erratic climate change. The decomposition of garbage and other organic forest matter and deforestation are major contributors of carbon dioxide in the past, accounting for half of CO2 emissions. But today 80% are from fossil fuels.
The canopy of trees in the forest in the forest shield and filter pollutants from the air can improve the climate of the tropics and the temperate regions. The rain forest provides hundreds of important medicinal tree in the Pacific yew containing a potent chemical taxol, which cures lung, breast, and ovarian cancer. This tree grows in the rain forest of the Pacific Northwest and only specimens that are over a hundred years old contain the potent chemical in their bark.
The forest is the haven of half of all the living species on earth. Some experts claim more than 90 per cent of species of life nestle in tropical rain forest. With the doltish and irrational scrapping off forest lands comes the irretrievable loss of these living species.
Actually, there are only three great stretches of rain forest left in the world: the Amazon, the largest; the central African rain forest in Zaire; the Southeast Asian rain forest which is mostly concentrated in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea. Smaller portions are found in Central America, on the Brazilian Atlantic Coast, cast Madagascar, southern tip of sub-Saharan part of Africa, the subcontinent of India and Indochina peninsula, the Philippines and northern Australia. Yet, whatever little rain forest is left, they are being assaulted and burned down to meet the insatiable demand for pasture land.
Third World countries who wish to speed up their economic boom relentlessly resort to the exploitation of their natural resources just to increase their dollar reserves. This seems to be a hard-nosed problem to resolve. Tropical rain forest may generate multifarious benefits for the entire planet, but it is economically rational for the Brazilians, Indonesians, Chinese to cut them down since no one pays to clean air, but people are willing to pay for fruits and lumbers. People are exercising their right to cut down their forest and turn them into fruit orchards and lumber yards in order to get rich.
This is one of the bottlenecks where the environmentalist and economist emerge like two cocks, a match that affects the world. The crux of the matter is that man cannot build a whole system of production that rapes and eventually mutilates man himself. The solution to one problem will not suffice it with that first solution ten new ones spring up.
Reforestation is not as simple as planting trees as trees are merely one type of specie in the forest. What about the others? No program of reforestation of whatever magnitude could ever restore the serious damage to nature now occurring. It is a wholesale annihilation of many species of life. So fatality wounded is the earth that many scientists estimate that recuperation would not be possible in the next 100 years.
The current trend towards globalization should deliberate on the long term effects to their vital decisions. Putting the rain forest under siege will give the legacy for future generations of looking at dioramas and pictures of the once existing flora and fauna of the rain forest, just as we look at the civilizations of the past – a part of History.
Is this the scenario you’d like to leave your children?