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G6 - From Little Things, Big Things Grow: 6. Deforestation
The Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) is a global nonprofit focused on inspiring individual action to improve the understanding, welfare and conservation of great apes and to safeguard the planet we all share.
Deforestation is the clearing or thinning of forests, the cause of which is normally implied to be human activity. As such, deforestation represents one of the largest issues in global land use in the early 21st century. Estimates of deforestation traditionally are based on the area of forest cleared for human use, including removal of the trees for wood products and for croplands and grazing lands.
Beads of sweat form on Cynel Moundounga's brow as he repeatedly rams a steel rod into an Okoume tree. Each strike of his mallet cuts through the relative quiet of the world's second-largest tropical rainforest. When the researcher switches to a sledgehammer 10 minutes later, the echo grows even louder.
A bystander might assume that Moundounga's relentless hammering was damaging what is one of Gabon's most commonly logged trees, but his work in the Congo Basin is not only harmless -- it could protect trees around the world against the illegal logging that threatens the planet's forests.
What's low-tech, sustainable and possibly the most effective thing we can do to fight climate change? Planting trees. A trillion of them.
Tom Crowther is a climate change ecologist at Swiss university ETH Zurich. Four years ago he found there are about 3 trillion trees already on earth -- much higher than NASA's previous estimate of 400 billion. Now, his team of researchers has calculated there is enough room on the planet for an additional 1.2 trillion -- and that planting them would have huge benefits in terms of absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide, the main driver of climate change.
Recently much has been made about the conversion of Asia’s biodiverse rainforests for oil-palm cultivation. Environmental organizations have warned that by eating foods that use palm oil as an ingredient, Western consumers are directly fueling the destruction of orangutan habitat and sensitive ecosystems.
The World Rainforest Movement (WRM) is an international organization that, through its work on forest and plantation related issues, contributes to achieving the respect of local peoples’ rights over their forests and territories. WRM is part of a global movement for social change that aims at ensuring social justice, the respect of human rights and environmental conservation.
Grown only in the tropics, the oil palm tree produces high-quality oil used primarily for cooking in developing countries. It is also used in food products, detergents, cosmetics and, to a small extent, biofuel.