Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Poor and Forests: Western Aid Required

Developing countries may turn to cutting down their forests if the West will not provide more aid and funding. Guyana's president, Bharrat Jagdeo, spoke on Friday about the need for greater funding in order to continue the conservation of forests.

For the poor in these countries, cutting down the forests can generate income through timber, as well as freeing up land that can be used for cash crop production. Thus, in order to preserve the protection of the forests, Guyana's president believes it is imperative for the West to make up for the income the people are losing.

Maintaining large forests is crucial to managing climate change. Additionally, there are millions of people living in poverty in the regions with massive forests, such as the Amazon, Congo and Borneo-Mekong basins. The Amazon basin alone is home to roughly 300 million people. Trees are effective at reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by absorbing the carbon and releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere. They are the second largest reservoir of carbon in the world and one that humans can control.

Increasing funding to countries in these regions is important in order to maintain a buffer against the effects of climate change. It is in the interest of the United States and the world to prevent the destruction of these forests by providing aid to the individuals who live in these areas. We cannot expect the people living in these forests to starve in order to maintain the preservation of the trees.

- Michael Kan

SOURCE: AlertNet