Deforestation, Afforestation, and Everything in Between

Sep 23 • News • 3767 Views • No Comments on Deforestation, Afforestation, and Everything in Between

An article from Triple Pundit touched on the critical issue of global forestry. “Broadly speaking…economically developed regions have stable or growing forests, and economically developing regions have shrinking forests,” writes Eric Justian.

However, Justian states that “it’s important for developed nations like the U.S. not to be smug about our current successes. We’ve been through the trajectory from deforestation to recovery that many developing nations currently face.”

31 percent of the earth’s land area are forests, half of which are located throughout the U.S., Canada, Russia, China and Brazil. While Brazil faces significant deforestation, China has been on an apparent afforestation “kick” for the last decade (prior to 2000, China experienced a decade of extreme deforestation). “As China’s economy improves, so to do its efforts at sustainable forestry. This link between prosperity and forest health is a global trend.”

“According to Dr. Erik Nordman (a professor of Natural Resource Economics and Policy at Grand Valley State University), there’s a well-known economic principle playing itself out before our eyes, here. It’s called the “Environmental Kuznets Curve.” Put simply, it works like this: as an impoverished population slowly grows its economy, it starts using more resources and causing more environmental damage. And then, they get to a point at the top of the curve where they start going the other way again. They get prosperous enough that they are able to afford the management and technologies to conserve resources and reduce environmental impact.”

“The important thing,” writes Justian, ” is for nations to focus on actually using forests as permanent and invaluable resources. As nations do that, they protect and promote those resources more. This is where businesses and governments can and do work together toward a globally healthy, sustainable goal.”

Image credit: Anoop Joy/Flickr

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