Throughout this world we see trees just about everywhere. As children we don’t really pay too much attention to them other than climbing them, or finding ways to swing from them like a monkey. The thing that most of us don’t realize is how vital trees are to our lives, our water, to our soil, to our air, and to our atmosphere. Over the years the amount of trees in the world has been dwindling considerably to point that it has been affecting multiple areas. In one area of the world this was taking a drastic hit on the land. In 1977 a woman from Nairobi, Kenya named Professor Wangari Maathai realized this, and she took charge to fix this issue.
The way she went about fixing the issue of so many trees being cut down was by founding the program called “The Green Belt Movement” (Unattributed, 2006). When The Green Belt Movement began it was a grassroots tree planting program. It was designed to address the ever growing challenges of deforestation, soil erosion, and lack of water (Unattributed, 2006). Their act of planting trees has turned into the most prominent women’s civil society organizations by helping women throughout Africa to become stewards of the natural environment.
The idea of the organization was to setup an organization that would be able to overcome the aspects of environmental degradation. They wanted to be able to give trees back to the environment so that they could help keep soil erosion down, keep water sources clean, filter ozone gases, and give back oxygen to the world. We can use the forests more sustainable in four different ways if we will just think about it. If we as a whole would emphasize the economic value of a forest’s ecological services, protect our old-growth forest, harvest trees no faster than they can replenish, and use a more sustainable substitute resource (Miller Jr. , 2007).
The economic value of a forest’s ecological services is easy to understand if you take a step back to look at it. When we need to go in to cut wood we need to take a look around where we plan to cut. If the economic value of the forest area is higher that the need for the wood then there is no need to cut down any of trees in that area. What I mean by this is the importance of the natural forest ecosystem. The forests around us provide raw materials for such as food, fuel, and shelter by micro-organisms. The soil and vegetation interact to purify the air and water, and the work to regulate the climate by recycling nutrients and waste.
If this natural forest economic value out ways the human well-being then we need to make the decision not to alter this natural ecosystem. If we looked closer at the economic value of a forest then we would also be able to protect our old-growth forest. Protecting our old-growth forest is something that we never take into account when it comes to cutting down trees. In fact old-growth tree groves are some of the most important areas of trees. The reason they need to be protected is because old-growth forest are called this because they have attained a great age.
These groves of trees tend to have large standing trees that multiple canopies with gaps. These groups of trees provide protection for some endangered species of animals and plants as well may house some rare species that are not commonly found in other forest areas. By protecting old-growth forest we can also get into the habit of not cutting down trees faster than they can replenish. For a forest to replenish itself it takes many years of growth. If we were to make sure that we didn’t cut more trees down than they could replenish then we could in the same manner be able to recoup the forest.
What this means is that as we cut a tree down we can replace that tree with a seedling to replenish the forest. So the rate of forest loss and degradation by humans and natural factors in a particular area is balanced by the rate of forest renewal (Miller Jr. , 2007). To help with degradation of forest consumption we can look into other more sustainable substitute resources for products. The human race is known for inefficient use of construction materials as well as recycling of paper and wooden crates. Cutting trees causes pulp which is used in making paper for the use in office supplies.
If we were recycle old paper and wooden crates or old wood we could acquire the same type of pulp needed for paper products. Also paper can be made from other fiber that does not come from trees. Taking some information from China we can learn this is true. China uses rice straw and other agricultural residues to make much of its paper (Miller Jr. , 2007). Following Professor Maathai’s example the government as well as the people can help reduce tropical deforestation. There are three strategies that are available that can help the government and individuals reduce tropical deforestation.
The way we can do this is by enhancing transparency, dissemination, and effective use of deforestation data by government agencies and civil society, develop and implement functional, credible market mechanisms that provide financial incentives for conservation and sustainable use of tropical forests, and contribute to the development of public policies that will “scale-up” the incentives for conservation and sustainable use of tropical forests (“Woods holes research,” 2007). We hear in movies all the time that the human species is a young species, and we have a lot more to learn.
If we as humans take this into account and we learn from our mistakes we could actually protect our tropical forest to the point of saving them. There have been more programs, groups, and ideas that have been put into place to make this happen. The problem is that we don’t pay attention to the items that we throw away. We don’t take the time to recycle to the paper that we just scribbled on. We don’t take the time to try and save the old wood from the barn we just tore down. If we don’t take the time to see these things then those programs, groups, or ideas mean nothing, and the tropical forest will soon be gone.
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