Cats, cows, turkeys, dogs, and horses, among many other animals, will always be around as long as humans are, simply because we'll ensure that they always have a healthy habitat. The same goes for trees, especially tropical trees.
Reforestation is a huge opportunity if we invest in plantations that have managed cutting, allowing tropical trees to grow up to 40 years before being turned into beautiful products like furniture.
In order to produce high quality lumber that's useful for furniture making, like mahogany for example, loggers have to be selective about the trees they fell. Can't just chop down every one of them because not all will generate productive wood.
Maple is similar in that it's plantation grown right here in the U.S. What that actually means in terms of wood quality is that it suffers a bit from uniformity.
The reason I know this is because I'm running a Kickstarter for a remote control. It's made out of mahogany and maple, but its impact is offset a bit by the small size of the remote, which also makes small features much more distinguishable.
This is also one of the reasons why I'm a vegetarian, as much deforestation is caused by burning forests for raising livestock.
: Turn Touch: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/samuelclay/turn-touch-b...
I don't know much about rainforests, but central-european commercial forests have significantly less biodiversity than "wild" forests.
In short, I don't think the problem of deforestation is that we won't have enough wood anymore.
Usually any plantation grown wood will be certified by some organization, FSC or another. Red grandis, genuine mahogany, and teak are the usual suspects in this category. All woods popularly known for furniture making.
These all grow much slower than the forests you typically see in Maine/Oregon, which extends their biological impact. This also greatly raises their costs, which is where increased commercial usage would encourage more of this type of sustainable growth and harvesting.
I'm not sure that follows. What does selling a product that is made of mahogany have to do with reforestation?
The point is, if your company is willing to make money at any cost (all do - shareholder responsibility), and you are work for it, you are a part of the problem.
They do manage to eek out an existence and support their families from this. Allowing vat-grown meat to flood the Amazon countries with cheap meat will destroy their livelihoods and result in even more people living in extreme poverty where there is not any state protection nets.
The end result is basically capital moving from poor countries to rich countries which have the patents and production capability.
In the US commercial forest operators will cut anything there is a market for, sending stuff that isn't sawmill quality to a pulp mill or biomass plant. They want to get rid of stuff that isn't sawmill quality because it competes for resources.
historical counter example: easter island
NO humans in easter island anymore.
> Population: 6,600
What you've said about making economics drive reforestation is true, but that's like saying that to end hunger you just have to give people food.
So you suggest planting trees that take 40 years to grow when the people doing the deflorestation are doing it because of profits that they'd never get via that method. (Economics)
It's the same with the plague that is eucalyptus, you know what drove its plantation and override of all other natural trees and plants in many places of the world? Economics! So you see that just economics might not be a very good way to solve the problem at hand.
So what do you propose to make the economics work? Highly tax meat? Or other products that are indirectly causing deflorestation?
I'm not sure this follows. Increasing the demand will merely incentivize deforestation at an increasing rate. If you start putting controls on it, the black market will just work around it just like with exotic parts from animals like horns. Let's assume you yourself are a woodcutter who believes in sustainability. The problem is that everyone else will just be thinking about short-term profits, especially when demand is so high. (see: the tragedy of the commons) If trees could be grown fast in farms like other animals or artificially like diamonds, you might have a point, but trees take so long to grow and if the demand is high, it will only encourage fast growing and killing of trees. You mention that optimizing for quality requires longer growth, and that assumes that quality wood is in demand which would also fetch higher prices, but that's debatable around the type of tree and its use. (you yourself say you have a market that require an "artisan" type of wood, but the majority of the world will be happy with whatever wood it can get, especially considering we use mixes in stuff like paper) Due to the limiting factor (time), demand will outdrive supply.
I believe Fiji currently has the world's largest mature mahogany plantation.
You can sell shares of the farm now, and pay out dividends as the wood comes to age. I invested in a brand new teak plantation in costa rica in the early 90s, and am making a continual stream of money from that since about 6 years ago.
We can debate the merits of a given approach, but we can be civil and charitable about it, and be appreciative when someone seems sincere about trying to do the right thing.
And what do you do to make money that is helping us?
Do you have any evidence that shows direct causation here?
Read 'Half Earth' by Edward Wilson to see his arguments for setting aside 50% of the surface land as pure wild nature, to preserve biodiveristy and, ultimately, us. I agree with many comments here that many established powerful nations spent much of the last few hundred years destroying parts of their own ecosystem to get where they are. The past is the past, though, and we face an uncertain future unless we band together to change this behavior now, regardless of borders or economies.
The problem is that we're human beings, our human nature, and nothing is going to save us from ourselves.
It's up to the folks reading HN to build that future before this one runs out.
The world changes and humans need to along with it. I'm sure cavemen once sat around the fire worrying about how all the good caves were being used up.
In an information theory sense, the information disappears and cannot be recovered, no matter how many trees you plant. Entire local evolutionary trees disappear or permanently migrate, land erodes under the rain without old root networks to hold it, once diverse micro- and macro-biomes get taken over by opportunistic members better suited to human industrial/agricultural environments, and fertile lands wither without the balance developed over stretches of time far beyond what we as societies or individuals are capable of dealing with.
Our Earth cannot be "used up" but it can become unusable through the slow but irreversible destruction of even small parts of the monolithic, heavily interdependent system.
Ditto. I know exactly what you're saying - tree's take long time to grow, the world is complex and subtly nuanced, once we lose that it's gone, etc. FYI I get all that - or for the purpose of this conversation pretend that I get it and try to look past that and at what I'm saying.
We can either fight change or adapt. Cavemen once complained about demand of caves outstripping supply too. The cost of fighting change is likely far greater than the cost of adapting.
Secondly, if you're going to worry about the Amazon (not saying we shouldn't worry about it) then why aren't you worried about the lost biodiversity once under Silicon Valley? Or NYC? Or Paris? Or Johannesburg? Or Beijing? It just seems we're getting involved in other people's business when we have a lot to cleanup ourselves.
I do care about the loss of biodiversity in the Bay Area, NYC, Paris, Johannesburg, and Beijing. So do many people and that's why environmental impact assessments are a standard part of any nontrivial construction or infrastructure project in many nations. The effectiveness of each countries legal and regulatory framework varies but we have made massive strides in the last hundred years and continue to improve. Our shortcomings don't mean that we should just "shut up and mind our own business" on an issue that has global impact and potentially catastrophic consequences for every living thing.
Regardless of how we do it, we will all be forced to sacrifice for the environment whether it is paying more for clean water, air, and lumber later or in regulatory costs now. Like with health and so many other things, its a hell of a lot cheaper to take preventative measures now than to repair broken things later.
The rainforest isn't just the woods on an empty lot. It's not even just an old growth forest, though those are pretty damn important too. I do care about the forests and as an inhabitant of the Pacific Northwest I go out in them regularly.
Nobody can bring back the Forests that are under where people live now but we can sure preserve the most important remaining ecosystems with the Amazon Basin at the top of the list but protect the last of the Old growth on the West Coast is on the list, too.
Please have some respect for people who care about this if nothing else. I find your attitude offensive to the core. I am pretty sure it's not intentional and that you're not just a mere troll but I just want to mention it. I guess I'm wondering if this is even a topic that you and others who think about it this way have given it much serious thought?
Got a citation for this?
It is not just the net loss of plant matter. The indigenous are under constant duress and we risk losing a unique part of our world; medicinal plants and esoterica, wild-life, and access to limited resources, to boot.
There are groups working with those impacted by this. I am contributing to an NGO called the Alianza Arkana which is doing some work to aid the indigenous and the rainforest.
Contextual plug: http://alianzaarkana.org .
I left a grand paying, comfortable tech job to try to make even-a-small difference. I hope this devastation is not a part of my generation's legacy.
Man, I love the rainforest. Why don't we hear about it as much? It's been a dream of mine to visit the Amazon. Now that I have the means I really need to get down there.
Basically telling these countries "no you cannot use your natural resources because it benefits the whole world" is not going to work.
Europe pretty much cut down all their forests during the industrial revolution and is now a developed and powerful world wide force. Arab countries with oil / gas reserves. Similarly the US etc etc.
If the world does not want the Amazon forests cut down, these countries need to be compensated for not doing so. Ecuador tried something a few years back regarding not drilling in the Amazon basis, along the lines of asking the international community to pay them to not drill. It failed and the deforestation continues. When an oil road is built, or logging road or any road, then the deforestation happens along the road, over dirt roads are built inland and more trees come down.
At the end of the day, none of us are prepared to dip into our pockets to not cut down the Amazon and this will be it's downfall
The problem is that there are too many people on Earth. Our impact on Earth is much too high. We would already need 2 Earths. Overpopulation causes a lot of problems, not just deforestation, mass extinction of animals and climate change, but also lack of food, human mass migrations, elevating crime rates, and so on. However if we could reduce the world population to 3 or 4 billion people, than all mentioned problems should be solved and Earth should be able to re-establish a natural balance.
I am ready to help.
Deforestation in Brazil is happening not because humanity really needs that lumber. It doesn't. Deforestation is happening because people in Brazil see those trees in their country's backyard as essentially free money lying around, and they do not give a second thought to chopping them down.
Nothing to do with overpopulation of Earth.
I wouldn't say so. The forest is being cut down because there's profit in farming it. Why is there profit?
Because people are paying for higher priced food, and more people exist.
Resource demand per capita * number of people = Total resource demand
Overpopulation isn't the entire cause, but it's certainly a factor.
(Yes, yes, some people consume much more than others. But there's also a baseline minimum in food required, and also as we've eliminated the worst poverty over the past 20 years, that raises the baseline)
So since 2000, we've added 1.5 billion people and dramatically increased the size of the middle class and also cut the worst poverty. Which means more resource consumption at all levels, multiplied by a greater number.
I should note that more efficient global transport and supply chains is also a cause. It's now a lot easier to take resources from the amazon and sell them to north america, europe, asia, etc. When trade and transport were less efficient, there was less incentive to use all resources to their pure maximum.
The same as all peoples in all countries have done. It is very easy to sit in our developed countries, which developed off the back of these types of practises and condemn others for doing the same to provide for their families and create a better life for them and future generations
A bit counterintuitively, even though many people are starving around the world, globally we produce a surplus of food every year—that’s what all the new people are made of. If we capped food production, it would necessarily cap population. But it’s hard to be enthusiastic about the ethics of letting people starve now so there are fewer people to starve in the next generation…
The article doesn't get into it, but what is driving this growing appetite? Is it a natural effect of population growth?
In my parts of the world (Eastern Europe) most of the locals themselves are the one tearing the forests down, because high in the mountains where they live this is one of the only income sources they have. In order to convince them not to cut down trees anymore you'd basically have to implement a guaranteed minimum income across all those areas, which should be big enough to buy its beneficiaries 4x4 vehicles and build big houses (that's what cutting trees affords those people to buy right now).
The anti-deforestation discourse comes mostly from people living in urban areas, who do not economically depend on cutting forests down. Ours is a complicated species.
They don't care who owns the land.
The Amazon deforestation problem is not the chopping down of a few trees, but large scale clear felling of large tracts of land. Think two bull dozers with a chain inbetween driving forwarding, clearing everything it's path.
Another problem, but smaller is single plots of land cleared to make way for a family to farm / raise cattle.
You know what coorperations view as a "win condition"? Monopoly and profits
You know what nature is? An obstacle or opportunity along the way towards such goals.
At no point is preservation of an "outdated" and "inefficient" system complimenting such goals.
If you can make an ai view life as more than a number and make ai into "eco system tenders" rather than judge jury and executioner, then it's possible that the ai master would work consider nature worth saving
Population growth is always the elephant in the room.
No, they do it for profit. We live in a profit based economy where profit beats all else, including the environment, the trees the rivers, the sea the air.
Damaging the environment in search of more profit is not frowned upon but seemingly actively encouraged when looking at the actions (not the words) of the worlds governments
...so really it did rise in 2014, from 1.2 to 1.5 so the first statement is false, isn't it?
The only industries that benefit with deforestation are logging and raising cattle in extensive pastures. Brazil needs manufacturing and services, they generate a lot more income and jobs.
I think it would be fair for the nations who profited from destroying their natural environment to pay some cash equivalent to those haven't yet. Otherwise it's pulling the ladder after you already got in.
That's interesting, do you have source on that?
This one claims that its the third largest polluter of American waterways: http://www.environews.tv/world-news/analysis-dept-of-defense...
See also: http://rainforests.mongabay.com/20brazil.htm
By the time my 5-year-old son is an adult, I think I'm going to have to explain to him what happened. That is, if things aren't so fucked up by unintended and intended consequences that this conversation never can happen. What a fucking delightful world that we are just destroying it with no more honor and respect than we'd give an ant on the kitchen floor.
There's this site, tree-nation.com that helps with reforestation projects. Any others out there?
It is absolutely not acceptable and I'm optimistic that we will see the day when MacLennan, Trump and similar will be imprisoned by the people. It is our right and duty to imprison them.