“Forests are vital to life on earth.”-Al Stenstrup

This month, there was a summit in Durban, South Africa, to discuss the depletion of one of the world’s most valuable resources: forests. According to the (London) Telegraph, no agreements were made about how to deal with the problem; instead an agreement was made to keep discussing.

Al Stenstrup, author of Morgan Reynolds’s Diminishing Resources: Forests, wrote, “Our forests are diminishing in quantity and quality. Nearly one-third of the earth’s land is covered with forests–about half of what scientists estimate covered the earth 11,000 years ago. Today, it continues to rapidly decline, losing 36 million acres of natural forest each year.”

The Telegraph reported that in September of 2008, some of the world’s most influential governments donated gobs of money toward a global fund for diminishing CO2 emissions by stopping deforestation, leaving it in the care of the World Bank to use strictly to preserve the rainforests. The total came to 6.5 billion dollars.

“Incredibly,” the Telegraph reported, “the World Bank has spent less than 10 percent of the money it received.”

“This is incompetence on an appalling scale. During the last four years, deforestation has put more than 20 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.”

Stenstrup wrote:

Carbon dioxide, or CO2, is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect and to global climate change. Trees take up CO2 from the atmosphere and use it to make the glucose or sugars that make up the tree. As long as the trees are alive and growing, they store this carbon. But when forests are cleared and the trees either burned or left to decay, this carbon is released back into the atmosphere.

And yet, the World Bank has not made a significant step with the money it has. The Telegraph reported, “The World Bank argues that it’s not easy to distribute money while ensuring that it is spent on the purpose for which it has been donated– especially…where central government … is corrupt and chronically inefficient. But there is a simple answer to that problem: don’t go through governments.”

Until the World Bank finds a way to circumvent those governments, which it is not apt to do any time soon, the world continues to constantly lose a natural resource and gain a whole lot of CO2.

Adrianne Loggins
Associate Editor

For more information about forests, check out Diminishing Resources: Forests by Al Stenstrup (ISBN 9781599351162).

Published in: on December 19, 2011 at 2:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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