Tropical Rainforests around the world are under threat from multiple causes. The Amazon, Congo and Indonesian rainforests are all examples of rainforests under threat to some degree. The problems include deforestation, agriculture and mining, all causing changes to their environment and are ultimately unsustainable.
Probably the best way the tropical rainforests can be protected is by leaving them and causing no further damage but there are benefits too. Utilising the rainforest as a resource can bring wealth into the area, provide fuel and provide jobs for local people. Therefore the best method would be to manage the rainforest sustainably and this can be done in a variety of different ways:
- Agroforestry is a method in which, either trees are left in the area or they are replanted afterwards, maintaining a constant number of trees. This helps because without trees, and the canopy they create, the soil is likely to be erroded and leached of its nutrients.
- Oxen drawn carts can be used to move timber within the rainforest because they cause less damage than heavy machinery, which often require roads and large amounts of felling to provide sufficient access. Using Oxen and carts to do the same job is largely more sustainable.
- The strip felling technique, which involves harvesting the trees of an area 50m wide, allows natural regeneration of the rainforest which means it’s a sustainable alternative to felling trees on a mass scale. The regeneration of the cleared area can be helped by animals moving into the area carrying seeds or by the wind blowing seeds.
- Education of the local people is vital to the success of a sustainable rainforest. They, after all will be the ones managing the rainforest in the future and need to be tought the advantages of sustainable techniques.
Island Biogeography is a method of managing the rainforest sustainably, it compromises the need to harvest the rainforest with the need to keep it for the future. It consists of pockets of rainforest which are kept and managed without any deforestation. These pockets of rainforest act as sanctuaries for species and the can migrate between these islands.
All these techniques are sustainable because they can use the rainforest without destroying it. Some are better than others while some are vital to the continuation of the rainforest, such as education.