Trekking through the Brazilian Amazon Rain Forest, so much was made clear to me about the importance of these ecosystems: the interconnectedness of plants and animals, the habitat and the horror of the destruction of our planet.
Like many, I have tried to eat less meat, support legitimate ventures that protect the jungle environment and visit various rainforests to enjoy and learn more about them. Whether soaring above the canopy on a zip line, boating down the Amazon or hiking to an idyllic tropical waterfall in Fiji, rainforests are hot travel destinations. I nearly coughed up my granola this morning as I read a front page story in The New York Times entitled: New Jungles Prompt a Debate on Saving the Primeval Rainforests.
The key word is “debate” and controversy there will be about this article, I am sure, but it was a fascinating read. The premise of the article is that as fast as original rainforests are being decimated by farming, logging and industry (about 38 million acres a year), replacement forests are growing at a much faster rate. Spurred by urban migration and improved yield on farmlands, it is estimated that 2.1 billion acres return to wild habitat each year. If this is true it has tremendous potential environmental implications. Globally nearly one-fifth of the world’s carbon emissions come from the destruction of rainforests. We should all still be concerned about maintaining and managing the great jungles of the Amazon and Indonesia, but the question is, does this regeneration and re-growth really cancel out the destructive forces?