Some experts have stated that within 30 years, the earth will be completely naked and free of forests. This sounds very extreme and unbelievable. It is, in fact, very unlikely, because it is an extreme prediction and assumes the absolute worst case scenario. Fortunately, the worst case scenario almost never happens, but to avoid complete deforestation of the earth, everyone must recognize the seriousness of the situation and work to find a solution.
The fact is, deforestation is not a sport. People clear the ground because they need the land. This has recently become more of a problem, and focuses primarily in the Amazon rain forests, because they are extremely important to the climate and environment of the entire planet.
“Stopping deforestation” is a simple phrase, but the practice will be much harder. Finding a solution must, above all, focus on finding a way to reduce the need that native populations see for clearing the rain forests.
Recycling paper and other materials helps reduce the need for wood and pulp from trees, and can make a dent in deforestation when everyone takes part in recycling programs. This is an important part of stopping deforestation.
Many people recommend government legislation and sanctions for cutting both rain forests and dry forests. These efforts are not useless, but when residents of an area know that they can raise crops or cattle and feed their families if they cut down the forest, government legislation and fines aren’t going to stop them.
The world, as a whole, needs to find ways to help these people accomplish their goals of raising crops and feeding their families without cutting down vital forests. Intercropping, or raising crops within the forest, provides one alternative to deforestation. Many villages and tribes don’t know about intercropping, or don’t see a benefit to them.
And that’s the main thing. The international community has largely approached rain forest destruction with a carrot—create international laws and fine people when they break them. There is very little advantage to the people who do not destroy rain forests, and very little harm to those who do, because financial penalties only matter if there are finances to penalize.
Finding alternatives to deforestation poses a huge challenge to the international community, and a challenge that has yet to be fully undertaken. Until the people who live in and around these forests feel the importance of saving them, they will continue deforestation. They must have a better solution.
Reforestation promises a way out of this situation, eventually. First, deforestation must cease or at least decrease significantly, and the land formally covered with forest must be repatriated to the forest. New planting can and will restore the forest to its original state in time, and reforestation must become a priority for the international community.
Deforestation poses enormous risks for the world. No one wants the world as we know it to disappear because of climate change and deforestation. But there must be a reasoned, reasonable and achievable plan for stopping deforestation and replanting the forests.