RAINFOREST PROTECTION

 

THE PROBLEM

In the last several decades, the intensity and scale of forest exploitation have increased significantly.  A large number of developing countries experiencing increasing deforestation trends are also facing acute shortages of fuel wood, fodder, industrial timber, and other forest products for domestic USC.  Besides potential environmental degradation, depletion of forests and trees may exacerbate poverty, displace indigenous populations, and impede agricultural productivity.  Deforestation, especially in the humid tropics, has serious regional and global implications (potential climate change, loss of biodiversity, and degradation of large watersheds).

 

RAINFOREST ACTION

  • Experts agree that by leaving the rainforests intact and harvesting it's many nuts, fruits, oil-producing plants, and medicinal plants, the rainforest has more economic value than if they were cut down to make grazing land for cattle or for timber.
  • The latest statistics show that rainforest land converted to cattle operations yields the landowner $60 per acre and if timber is harvested, the land is worth $400 per acre.  However, if these renewable and sustainable resources are harvested, the land will yield the landowner $2,400 per acre.
  • If managed properly, the rainforest can provide the world's need for these natural resources on a perpetual basis.
  • Promoting the use of these sustainable and renewable sources could stop the destruction of the rainforests.  By creating a new source of income harvesting the medicinal plants, fruits nuts, oil and other sustainable resources, the rainforests are more valuable alive than cut and burned.
  • Sufficient demand of sustainable and ecologically harvested rainforest products is necessary for preservation efforts to succeed.  Purchasing sustainable rainforest products can effect positive change by creating a market for these products while supporting the native people's economy and provides the economic solution and alternative to cutting the forest just for the value of its timber.
 
LAND USE THROUGH SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE, A SOLUTION THAT’S WORKING

Agriculture -- farming and grazing -- already uses 38 percent of the Earth's lands.  Industrial agriculture is a leading polluter and a rapacious user of water.  As population pressures increase everywhere, and the pace of conversion from forests to farmland accelerates, current practices will only continue to accelerate the cycle of poverty experienced by most farmers, especially in and around our planet's most sensitive and unique ecosystems.

 

But Rainforest Alliance Certified farms have reduced environmental footprints, are good neighbors to human and wild communities, and are often integral parts of regional conservation initiatives.

 

Under the auspices of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), an international coalition of leading conservation groups, the Rainforest Alliance works with farmers to ensure compliance with the SAN standards for protecting wildlife, wild lands, workers’ rights, and local communities.  Farms that meet these rigorous standards are awarded the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal.

 

Rainforest Alliance Certified means:

·      Less water pollution as all sources of contamination (pesticides and fertilizers, sediment, wastewaters, garbage, fuels and so on) are controlled.

·      Less soil erosion as farms implement soil conservation practices such as planting on contours and maintaining ground cover.

·      Reduced threats to the environment and human health as the most dangerous pesticides are prohibited, all agrochemical use is strictly regulated, farmers must use mechanical and biological pest controls where possible and strive to reduce both the toxicity and quantity of chemicals used.

·      Wildlife habitat is protected as deforestation is stopped, the banks of rivers are protected with buffer zones, critical ecosystems such as wetlands are protected, and forest patches on farms are preserved.

·      Less waste as farm by-products such as banana stems, coffee pulp, orange peels, and un-marketable foliage are composted and returned to the fields as natural fertilizer.  Other wastes, such as plastics, glass and metals are recycled where possible.

·      Less water used as water conservation measures are applied in washing and packing stations, housing areas and irrigation.

·      More efficient farm management as the certification program helps farmers organize, plan, schedule improvements, implement better practices, identify problems and monitor progress.

·      Improved conditions for farm workers -- who are getting fair wages, decent housing, clean drinking water, sanitary facilities, and a safe and wholesome work area.  Workers and their families have access to schools, health care, transportation, and training.

·      Improved profitability and competitiveness for farmers, who have increased production, improved quality, reduced worker complaints, and increased worker efficiency.  The Rainforest Alliance Certified seal of approval gives the farmers more leverage at the time of sale, product differentiation, premium prices, and improved access to credit.

 

More collaboration between farmers and conservationists -- parks alone cannot save the world’s biodiversity; we have to ensure that wild flora and fauna find refuge outside of protected areas.  Because farmers control the fate of so much land and so many critical habitats, their ideas and willing participation are essential to any local or regional conservation strategy.


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