Monday, 20 April 2009

Replanting the Rainforests: Sustainably Managed Permanent Rainforest Habitats

Finally, I'm getting back to writing.

Today, we're talking about Sustainably Managed Permanent Rainforest Habitats. Here's an introduction from the RTR website:

The Sustainably Managed Permanent Rainforest Habitat concept is a key differentiation point with other Tree Planting projects run by other organizations.

Because these programs do not have control of the lands where the trees are planted and in most cases the trees are planted in areas that have a history of deforestation. Many programs take place on farmlands. Ask yourself: What do farmers do for a living? They plant things, they grow things, and they cut them down and sell them.

What we do is different. Our projects mix a variety of technologies to create an economic engine to support the creation of these habitats. These technologies include analog (sustainable) forestry, wildlife habitat enhancement, biomass carbon negative energy production, BioChar soil augmentation and edible forest gardens (Permaculture).

That's where the uniqueness of this programme lies. We just don't want to grow trees in our locality. We want to – we need to – regrow the whole of the rainforests. There's a lot of difference between planting a tree randomly and replanting an entire rainforest. As you have understood, such scattered tree plantation does not make up for the loss of the rainforests because that doesn't support a habitat. Nor does it offer us so many benefits as the rainforests do.

At present, much of the forest cover we had 100 years ago, is lost. As a result, many species of animals are extinct today. Therefore, the bio-diversity is considerably endangered today. That's not the only loss. We have been victims of pollution in water, air and soil – a direct effect of deforestation. While we are being more conscious about the benefits from trees and the bad effects of deforestation, we are not really doing what we should do. We are planting trees at random places. Although that's a very admirable effort and must be encouraged, that doesn't offer a solution to the bigger problem.

Surely we can't expect our backyard trees to be the dwelling-place of jaguars and orangutans, can we? Can we expect the trees we planted to control the climate of our entire region? Can we ensure that our trees will prevent landslides, draughts and floods? Will they provide us with 30% of our planet's fresh water? Will they give us what the rainforests do?

Of course, you know the answers, don't you?

Yes, we need to restore – and if possible, create – the rainforests for the very same reasons. We have to give the habitat back to the animals, whom we've treated so wrongly. We need to create habitats which are permanent. We need to create habitats which we can manage well. And finally, we need to create habitats which can be sustained.

We don't want to see a time to come when the existence of the rainforests and the animals of the forests is limited to picture story-books. If such days are ahead, we must be aware of the fact that we won't even have a place in such books either.

So plant a tree, for sure. But also think about the forests.

Here's an awesome video.

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