10/27/2011

Occupy The Forest

Occupy the forests before they are gone
The Occupy Movement has gained global momentum as people continue to rally against corrupted politicians, and the greedy corporatists that have bought them out. Although all of the protests I have seen have been in cities, the forests of the world would be an appropriate setting for future occupations.

The planet's forests are depleted from centuries of exploitation, and extraction has ratcheted up in recent years, primarily for the enrichment of powerful corporate entities. Deforestation has already removed 50% of the world's forests, and what is left is certain to vanish in the coming decades if we do not take drastic action.

Deforestation has many causes. Population pressures, profits, and internal social and political forces can all push up the rate of forest loss.  Globalization is an additional force putting increased pressure on our forests. Jurisdictions with inequitable distribution of wealth and power, and corrupt governments, are especially vulnerable. Unfortunately, this describes most regions of the world.

Some countries, though, have decided to re-occupy their original forests by banning logging. For example, a number of countries in the Asia-Pacific region have experimented with partial or total logging bans (or similar restrictions on timber harvesting) in response to rapid deforestation and degradation of natural forests. 

Several other countries in the region are also considering harvesting restrictions, along with other strategies, to promote forest conservation. Some of the countries involved are: New Zealand (1987), People's Republic of China (1998), Philippines (1991), Sri Lanka (1990), Thailand (1989), and Viet Nam (1997).

Sadly, although British Columbia's forests have also been decimated by industrial logging, our government steadfastly sticks to a 'log it all' old growth forest policy.  

Any change in BC's forests, and the forests of the world, will be made by concerned, motivated citizens forcing our governments to do the right thing.

It is time to ban the logging of old growth forests before they, and the species that depend on them, are extinct.


It is time to Occupy The Forest.


Motivation for restricting timber harvesting
There are a number of reasons for countries to restrict timber harvesting that are complementary or subsidiary to an overall objective of controlling deforestation. These include:
  • efforts to conserve biodiversity, critical habitats and representative forest ecosystems;
  • a means of preventing deterioration of watersheds and water quality;
  • prevention of soil erosion, sedimentation and flooding;
  • stopping forest damage from inappropriate logging and abuse of contractual obligations;
  • inability to effectively monitor and regulate logging operations, including inability to detect and prevent illegal logging;
  • inadequate reforestation and afforestation;
  • lack of management of cut-over forestlands;
  • uncontrolled human migration and habitation of forested areas through logging access and opening of forest stands;
  • inappropriate land clearing and conversion to agriculture;
  • conflicts with rights and cultural traditions of indigenous peoples and local communities;
  • loss of scenic, cultural and aesthetic resources;
  • climate change and carbon storage; and
  • conflicts with management of important non-timber forest products, including medicinal plants and forest genetic resources.
    - from "Forests Out Of Bounds"

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