Protecting Tropical Rainforests
Tropical rainforests need our protection. They are wonderful places and they feature levels of biodiversity that are almost impossible to imagine. Can you imagine a world without that level of biodiversity?
A lot of the products that we use on a daily basis come from the rainforest. These include chocolate, different medicinal ingredients and coffee. What do you think would happen if a disease curing plant became extinct because of our activities in the rainforest?
Luckily, there are things that we can do to sustainably manage tropical rainforests and minimise the amount of destruction that takes place there:
1. Ecotourism in Tropical Rainforests
Ecotourism is a relatively new concept, but it has shown itself to be promising. The concept behind ecotourism is to minimise the ways in which tourists damage the environment when they travel. Ecotourism also benefits the local people. Generally speaking, the number of tourists who are allowed into an area at any one given time is limited.
In tropical rainforests, people often have to make money by participating in deforestation. By bringing in ecotourism, people can make their money in different fields. For example, they could work as guides, showing tourists around the beautiful areas that they call their homes.
Naturally, this means that less trees will be cut down. It also means that governments would have more of a need to prevent deforestation because they would benefit from ecotourism.
2. Selective Logging in Tropical Rainforests
Selective logging is a simple process that involves only felling certain trees. For example, you might see people choosing to fell older trees. This is better than stripping an area of all of the trees that can be found there, because the structure of the forest is kept intact when only a few trees are felled. For example, the canopy is still there and the nutrients in the soil are not washed away.
3. Replanting Trees in Tropical Rainforests
In tropical rainforests, we should aim to replace any trees that are felled. Otherwise, there will be no trees for future generations to use and our rainforests will gradually shrink. To maintain the biodiversity that can be found inside of tropical rainforests, it is important that the same type of tree that was felled is replanted.
The awareness of the climate change and its effects is important. We human being need to understand that it is our responsibility to protect the environment in which we are living. Local people, politicians and business person need to contribute their bit to protect the tropical rainforests. Only awareness about the ill effects of deforestation and climate change can bring positive change in thinking of the people.
5. International policies
a) Reduction-in-debt policy – Many low income countries use natural resources like rainforests to earn money and pay off their debts. In this case, the country which has provided the loan to these countries can reduce or cancel the debt amount of the low income country agree to protect their rainforest. Obviously the developed countries in this case needs to take the lead and help other developing countries to do better because climate change is a threat that looms over all the countries regardless of their economic status.
b) International agreements – Tropical forest hardwood provides timber for furniture and is high in demand due to its good quality. Therefore, policies are made by many international agreements that the countries involved will put a complete ban on the trading of the hardwood.
6. National Policies
a) Government needs to put the restriction on the activities that can be done in the forest areas. No cutting of trees should be allowed in the forest region. Thus creating national parks and wildlife sanctuaries is helpful in conservation of both rainforests and the tribal people living in it.
b) Use of satellite monitoring and assigning people to keep a vigilant eye on the forests to avoid any illegal cutting of trees can be done.
c) Some countries have even developed their own app which allow local people to quickly inform the higher authorities if they witness any illegal cutting of trees, mining etc.
7. Participation of local people
a) Afforestation – This is simply planting trees to replace the one that have been cut down.
b) Shifting cultivation – Moving from one place to another for cultivation in 2-3 years can help the rainforests to recover. Agriculture makes a land infertile.
c) Sustainable methods to use trees – We can also use trees and thier products without completely destroying them. For example, rubber tapping is done to extract the rubber from the tree. Only the bark portion is peeled so that entire tree is not destroyed.
d) Agroforestry – growing trees and crops side by side is also helpful. Trees provides shade and also hold the soil and prevent the soil erosion. Also the dead matter of the tree benefits the crop by providing them nutrients.