Deforestation: Learning from Our Mistakes (Part 1)by walt barlow on 02/25/13
Deforestation, or the permanent destruction of forests and woodlands, is a serious and ongoing environmental issue that attracts protests from environmentalists, both in the United States and abroad. As nations develop, more and more of the planet’s old growth forests are cleared away to provide growing populations with both space, and raw materials. However, as the boundaries of our cities advance, the biodiversity inherent to these preexisting ecosystems is being forced into hasty retreat. While the ecological implications of our actions are not always readily apparent at the time, this two-part exploration of this practice’s history will reveal just how detrimental we can be to the finely tuned equilibrium we hold with our environment.
Prior to the arrival of European-Americans about one half of the United States land area was forest, about 4,000,000 square kilometres (990,000,000 acres) in 1600, yet today it is only about 3,000,000 square kilometres (740,000,000 acres). The United States is the world’s leading producer and consumer of forest products and accounts for about one-fourth of the world’s production and consumption. The United States is also the world’s largest producer of softwood and hardwood lumber.
The 2005 Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Global Forest Resources Assessment ranked the United States as seventh highest country losing its old growth forests, a vast majority of which were removed prior to the 20th century. However, it doesn’t take a great deal of examination to see that our tracts untouched land areas are still steadily diminishing, as we gradually compromise nature’s ability to repair the damage we inflict.
But that can’t be, can it? “Nature finds a way” is how that axiom goes, right? She’ll bounce back. After all, isn’t nature…well…in Mother Nature’s..nature?
Unfortunately for us, the short answer is a yes with a but, while the long answer is more of a no with an if. That is to say, at the end of the day she’s the one holding the deeds to the property, meaning if the terms of lease are violated enough it is we, not she, who are subject to eviction.
The evidence can be found…right back here…in one month’s time…
In our next entry we’ll be filling you in on some of our exciting new undertakings, and then tune back in for part two on two on this subject two weeks after that. We’re going to take an in depth look at the mysterious 1300-year-old petri dish of an island that’s been associated with everyone from ancient astronauts to Atlanteans, but was in fact the product of a society that was developed themselves right out of a home when they failed to discern the correlation between their shrinking tree-line, and some ecological phenomena which is eerily similar to that which we are starting to experience right now. You won’t want to miss it!
We’ll even give you a hint: