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Our Dying Forests

Ishan Bhargava
Science 4
May 23, 2014
It seems that theres no end of trees to be seen in our town of San Ramon.
We all use wood and lumber products such as pencils, tables, chairs, and desks.
But where do all these items come from? The truth is far more grisly. Giant
natural rainforests such as the Amazon are targets for exploitation by illegal
companies. Those companies practice unsustainable forestry, cause corruption,
and ruin peoples lives.
What exactly is illegal logging? Illegal loggers cut down trees in forests with-
out governmental permission. The reduced amount of trees leads to increased
carbon dioxide levels, and contributes to global warming and climate change.
This happens in almost every forest across our planet. The biggest areas for
this are the Congo Basin in Africa and the Amazon Rainforest in South Amer-
ica. In addition, its estimated that 46% of all lumber from Indonesia was not
legally obtained, while in the country of Gabon on the west coast of Africa,
the percentage is raised to 70%. From this, some sources say that 25% of all
wooden products from Russia were made with this illegal lumber. Acquiring
permits for logging can be either too expensive or, in more corrupt countries,
may be too dicult. Many companies do not want the cost of going through
the legal procedures to cut into the prot, and decide to take matters into their
own hands. These are all problems which we need to solve if we want to cut
down on the damage done to our forests.
The forests suer a great deal more than you may imagine. Every minute,
the equivalent of 36 football elds worth of trees are cut down. These have
great eects on both animals as well as people. Many animals are dispossed
of their natural habitat, making them easy targets for predators. As four-fths
of Earths species make their homes in rainforests, this puts a large amount of
animals at risk of becoming homeless. But its not just them who are aected by
deforestation. Many people rely on forests in ways such as hunting or gathering
to provide food, or taking advantage of naturally-occuring resources such as
rubber. Activists have been known to be murdered when standing in the way of
illegal loggers. Villages lose control over their lands to these illegal companies
and often ends in violence or oppression.
Why does illegal logging happen? The aforememtioned villages often have no
other way of making a living other than turning to illegal practices. These people
are paid a tenth of the price that the item will be sold at when theyre processed
into the nished product in places such as China, which accounts for 10% of
the worlds imported lumber. But the bigger problem lies with corporations
who can often evade the law. Inferior government enforcement and corruption
all contribute to smugglers bribing their way to prot. Whenever a crackdown
does occur, its the poorer, smaller, less signicant people who are caught. All
of this means the real problem is never addressed, and illegal logging continues
to hurt more than just the enviroment.
There are many problems concerning our planet and the enviroment right
now. Endangered species and oceans are all invaluable to the world. But until
we stop deforestation, people in remote areas will continue to be oppressed
"Deforestation." WWF. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2014. <http://wwf.panda.
"Illegal Logging." WWF. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 May 2014. <http://wwf.panda.