Forests contribute towards the livelihood of about a billion people across the globe. The ecosystem largely plays a role in controlling climatic conditions and providing humans with food, water, medicines, wood- the basic resource for survival.
Therefore, it is indeed surprising to find such diversity struggling under the looming danger of existence. In spite of conscious efforts by authorities to lay down guidelines and legislate measures to slow down deforestation as a measure to stop global warming in the past couple of decades, does not seem to have brought about any major transitions.
Research shows, the tropics have experienced the worst plight by losing a cover up to the size of Vietnam in the last two years itself. This vehemently stresses on a humongous loss of biodiversity, loss of livelihoods of the local communities, challenging sustainability. Environmentalists even consider the phenomena to reserve a potential that can lead to untamable climate catastrophes.
Forests boast of dynamic attributes that include storing excess carbon, putting a check on wind speed as well as affecting rainfall patterns. Perceiving through an optimist’s eye, the inherent nature of tropical forests enable it to stop global warming in a myriad of ways.
Robust frameworks set up by climate conferences were directed towards collective action for putting an end to deforestation. Although commitments looked good on paper, logging continues for a myriad of reasons.
Tropical forests are known to have been cleared for laying roads and other essential elements demanded by the urban expansion. Forest covers lost to illegal conversions and corruption constitutes a large portion of deforestation activity.
These forests have always been instrumental in endowing human beings with a range of supplies, which have been very well capitalized by supply chains. The windfall demand for commodities across the globe have motivated companies to refute law enforcement and recklessly exploit natural reserves, destroying the ecological balance.
One such victim of irresponsible conduct on the part of human beings have been the vast expanse of Amazon in Brazil. A part of the loss can be attributed to forest fires that gutted the forest cover, while a major part of it was lost to the relaxed law enforcement during political turmoil as well as to the countries fiscal crisis.
In fact the scenario in Colombia is no different, where forests were under the control of armed rebel forces for a long duration. With the conflict resolution the entire forest cover was lost to developmental activities. Other tropical forested countries like Liberia, Peru, Democratic Republic of Congo continues to face similar circumstances.
Those associated with climate action suggest the action should stem from local concerns and the action should be undertaken by local authorities in addition to international assistance.
The idea endorse by Paris Agreement – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation and enhancing forest carbon stocks or REDD+ might be the way forward. This talks about rich countries paying the developing countries incentives for limiting deforestation.
Measures adopted by countries at their own level include monitoring deforestation by satellite. Remote sensing is another potential innovation that helps in generating alert in real time against illegal clearing. Alerts are shared with government agencies, who can step up with necessary action.
In spite of the deforestation oriented interventions being increasingly undertaken, ensuring protection depends upon the collective action of communities, cities, countries and global citizens.