Saving Rainforests that Remain
E.O. Wilson (The Diversity of Life, Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 1992) estimates that 95% of the planet's species remain undescribed and at the rate we are progressing it would take nearly 4000 years to describe all the species on Earth.
Dietz, James M. ("Conservation of Biodiversity in Neotropical Primates," from Biodiversity II, Reaka-Kudla, Wilson, Wilson, eds. Washington D.C.: Joseph Henry Press, 1997) notes that since 1990 four new primate species have been discovered in Brazil.
The complexity of interactions within ecosystems is summed up in an eloquent fashion by E.O. Wilson in Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998). Ecologists have attempted to simplify their understanding of these systems by linking biodiversity and ecosystem function through defining membership in functional groups as explained by Silver, W.L., Brown, S., and Lugo, A.E., "Effects of changes in biodiversity on ecosystem function in tropical forests," Conservation Biology Vol. 10 No. 1 (17-24), Feb. 1996.
Stone, R. ("A Long March to Save Africa's Dwindling Wildlands," Science 285 (5429): 825, 6-Aug-1999) publicizes conservation biologist Fay's walk across the Congo.
The Global 2000 conservation strategy is presented by Olson, D. and Dinerstein, E. in The Global 200: A Representation Approach to Conserving the Earth's Distinctive Ecoregions, Conservation Science Program, World Wildlife Fund, Washington, DC., 1998.
Biodiversity "Hot Spots" are defined and pinpointed in Myers, N., "Threatened Biotas" 'Hot spots' in Tropical Forests," Environmentalist, 8 (3): 187-208, 1988. A revised look at biodiversity hot-spots can be found in Myers, N., "The Biodiversity Challenge: Expanded Hot-Spots Analysis," Environmentalist, 10 (4): 243-256, 1990.
Studies on isolated forest reserves showing reduced diversity can be found in Laurance, W.F. and R.O. Bierregaard, Jr, eds., Tropical Forest Remnants: Ecology, Management, and Conservation of Fragmented Communities, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997 and Bawa, K.S. and Seidler, R., "Natural Forest Management and Conservation of Biodiversity in Tropical Forests," Conservation Biology Vol. 12 No. 1 (46-55), Feb 1998.
Changes in species composition over time on Barro Colorado Island are discussed in Quammen, D., The Song of the Dodo, New York: Scribner, 1996; Laurance, W.F. and R.O. Bierregaard, Jr, eds., Tropical Forest Remnants: Ecology, Management, and Conservation of Fragmented Communities, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997; Robinson, W.D. "Long-term changes in the avifauna of Barro Colorado Island, Panama, a tropical forest isolate." Conservation Biology Vol. 13 No. 1 (85-97), Feb. 1999.
Turner, I.M. and Corlett, R.T., "The conservation value of small, isolated fragments of lowland tropical rain forest," Trends in Ecology & Evolution Vol. 11, No. 8. August 1998 argue the answer to the question "Are Forest Fragments Worth Saving" is "yes."
An overview of biodiversity and ecosystem valuation is presented in Wilson, E.O., The Diversity of Life, Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 1992. Wilson argues that by putting a price on the goods and services biodiversity provides we may be able to reduce uninformed destruction of species and ecosystems.
Costanza, R., ed., Ecological Economics: The Science and Management of Sustainability, New York: Columbia University Press, 1991 values ecosystems and the benefits they provide at $33 trillion per year.
Dasgupta, S., Laplante, N., and Mamingi, N., find that stock prices for individual firms in developing countries react to environmental news in "Capital Market Responses to Environmental Performance in Developing Countries," The World Bank Research Group, 1997.
The savings from the importation of weevils for oil-palm plantations is stated in Greathead, D.J., "The multi-million dollar weevil that pollinates oil palm," Antenna (Royal Entomological Society of London), 7: 105-107. 1983 and Myers, N., "The world's forests: problems and potentials," Environmental Conservation. 23 (2) p. 158-168, 1996.
The box "Economic Values" is taken from Kumari, K., "Sustainable forest management: Myth or Reality? Exploring the Prospects for Malaysia," Ambio Vol. 25 No. 7, Nov. 1996.
Other forms of biodiversity and ecosystem valuation are reviewed in Oksanen, M. ("The Moral Value of Biodiversity" Ambio Vol. 26 No. 8, Dec. 1997); O'Neill, J. ("Managing without Prices: the Monetary Valuation of Biodiversity," Ambio Vol. 26 No. 8, Dec. 1997); Hawken, P. (The Ecology of Commerce: a Declaration of Sustainability New York: HarperCollins, 1993); Carson, R.T. "Valuation of tropical rainforests: philosophical and practical issues in the use of contingent valuation," Ecological Economics 24 (1998) 15-29.
The box, "Lower taxes and save the environment" comes from Kramer, G., "Group says tax pollution, not paychecks, profits," A.P. 5/11/97.
An overview of biodiversity and ecosystem valuation is presented in E.O. Wilson (The Diversity of Life, Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 1992) suggests using blocked funds as a mechanism to ease debt pressures on developing countries.
Funding and Organization
Inamdar, A., H. de Jode, K. Lindsay, and S. Cobb in "Capitalizing on Nature: Protected Area Management," (Science 283: 1856-1857, March 19, 1999) suggest that a business-oriented approach to biodiversity conservation may be the best way to strengthen existing conservation institutions.
The merits of community-based conservation are reviewed in Western, D., Wright, R.M., and Strum, S. eds., Natural Connections : Perspectives in Community-Based Conservation, Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1994 (a series of case studies); Fimbel, C. and Fimbel, R., "Rwanda: The role of local participation." Conservation Biology Vol. 11 No. 2 (309-310), Apr. 1997 (case study in Rwanda); and Getz, W.H. et al., "Sustaining Natural and Human Capital: Villagers and Scientists," Science 283: 1855-1856, March 19, 1999. Hackel, J.D. ("Community Conservation and the Future of Africa's Wildlife," Conservation Biology, Vol. 13, No. 4: 726-734, August 1999) discusses some of the conflicts between community-based conservation and the economic needs of local Africans.
Kremen, C. et al. ("Designing the Masoala National Park in Madagascar Based on Biological and Socioeconomic Data," Conservation Biology, Vol. 13 No. 5 (1055-1068), Oct. 1999) note the importance of considering human use of forest areas prior to designating a protected area.
Noble, I.R., and R. Dirzo, "Forests as Human-Dominated Ecosystems," Science 277: 522-525, July 25, 1997 argue that it is important to recognize that today many forests are human-dominated ecosystems used for logging, hunting, and agroforestry. The emphasize the need to develop strategies for sustainable management and to encourage interaction between all interested parties.
Costa, P.M. ("Tropical forestry practices for carbon sequestration: a review and case study from southeast Asia," Ambio Vol. 25 No. 4, June 1996) examines tradable greenhouse gas emission budgets including some of the hurdles such a system must overcome. Rippel, B. ("Tradable CO2 Emissions Permits: Problems with the 'Perfect' Solution," National Consumer Coalition 11/25/97) points out that because some countries already have emissions below their 1990 levels, they will be able to sell their credits to countries with growing economies, essentially being rewarded for running polluting and inefficient industries. Daly, H. (Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development, Boston: Beacon Press, 1996) notes the scale problems of tradeable pollution permits in that there will always be pressure to exceed self-imposed limits on carbon emissions.
Costa, P.M. ("Tropical forestry practices for carbon sequestration: a review and case study from southeast Asia," Ambio Vol. 25 No. 4, June 1996) and Asumadul, K. ("Carbon trading: a new opportunity for tropical timber producing countries," ITTO Tropical Forest Update Vol. 8, no. 4, 1998) discuss carbon offset programs based on the idea that forests can serve as net carbon sinks. However, recent studies (B. Scholes, "Will the terrestrial carbon sink saturate soon?" Global Change NewsLetter (the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme-IGBP) No. 37:2-3, March 1999) and R. Watson et al. IPCC Special Report on Land Use, Land Use Changes, and Forestry, the Intergovernmental Pannel on Climate Change, 1999) dispute this claim. They suggest that as temperatures rise, respiration rates will increase, eventually canceling out the carbon absorbed by forests growing today.
Mattoon, A.T., "Bogging Down in the Sinks," Worldwatch Nov/Dec 1998 points out potential problems with the greenhouse forestry-sinks program under Kyoto Protocol.
Bolivia's agreement to protect 2.2 million acres of forest for carbon emission credit is reported in PR Newswire, "Vice President Gore Announces Approval of International Project to Protect Bolivian Rain Forest and Offset Greenhouse Gases," 12/7/96.
The Woods Hole Research Center in "RisQue98," 1998 and Holdsworth, A.R. and Uhl, C. in "Fires in Amazonian selectively logged rain forest and the potential for fire reduction," Ecological Applications Vol. 7, issue 2 (713-725), 1997 provide an outline of steps to reduce the massive Amazonian forest fires.
Cornwell, S. ("Big Powers Plan to Save Forests," Reuters, 5/9/98) reports on the G-8 announcement that it would encourage developing countries to protect their forests by offering aid to countries that made forest preservation a priority.
EDF (Making the Label Stick, The Environmental Defense Fund, 1997) and Myers Myers, N. ("The world's forests: problems and potentials," Environmental Conservation 23 (2) p. 158-168, 1996) believe that eliminating subsidies for activities that promote forest clearing would probably have the widest ranging effect on curbing deforestation in the tropics.
According to Hurrell, A., ("The politics of Amazonian deforestation," Journal of Latin American Studies 23: 197-215, 1990) the Amazon was thought to have great investment potential.
MacNeill, J. ("A commentary on the politics of prevention," in Tropical Forests and Climate, N. Myers, ed. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1992) notes that there are serious conflicts of interests within government departments in many developing countries (MacNeill 1992)
Daily, G.C., Ehrlich, A.H., and Ehrlich, P.R., ("Socioeconomic Equity: a Critical Element in Sustainability." Ambio Vol. 24 No. 1, Feb 1995) note that poor nations have little incentive to cooperate in maintaining the lifestyles of the rich through conservation efforts while they remain mired in poverty.
According to the Rainforest Action Network (1993), in 1987 the World Bank granted loans exceeding US$15 billion to tropical countries.
The box describing the ecological corridor project is taken from an Associated Press report, "Ecologists Trying to Restore Brazil's Dwindled Atlantic Forest," February 22, 1997.
The Global Environment Facility is evaluated in Horta, K. "Band-aid for a battered planet: evaluating the GEF," Environmental Defense Fund, 3/21/98.
According to Phillips, M.M. ("World Bank Board Agrees to Weaken a Watchdog Panel," The Wall Street Journal, 4/21/99) the World Bank opted to weaken the inspection panel.
Information on RAN boycotts is provide by the Rainforest Action Network.
EDF (Making the Label Stick, The Environmental Defense Fund, 1997) notes the effect of the Friends of the Earth "mahogany is Murder" campaign of mahogany imports to the United Kingdom.
Epstein, J. in "Corporations enlisted in battle to save rain forests," San Francisco Chronicle, 7/7/99, notes the work of private corporations in funding and supporting rainforest conservation.
A survey of the trend towards "green business" in American corporations is found in Arnst, C. "Green Business," Business Week Online, 1997.
"Views on Conservation: Western vs. Indigenous" is taken from Cox, P.A. and Elmqvist, T., "Ecocolonialism and Indigenous-Controlled Rainforest Preserves in Samoa," Ambio Vol. 26 No. 2, March 1997.