Ticking Time Bomb

Home arrow Eco Systems arrow Eco Systems arrow Forest depletion due to paper and fuel
Forest depletion due to paper and fuel PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 0

Protecting the earth’s nearly 4 billion hectares of remaining forests and replanting those lost are both essential for restoring the earth’s health, an important foundation for the new economy.

Reducing rainfall runoff and the associated flooding ands oil erosion, recycling rainfall inland, and restoring aquifer recharge depend on simultaneously reducing pressure on forestsand on reforestation.

There is a vast unrealized potential in all countries to lessen the demands that are shrinking the earth’s forest cover. In industrial nations the greatest opportunity lies in reducing the quantity of wood used to make paper, and in developing countries it depends on reducing fuelwood use.

The rates of paper recycling in the top 10 paper-producingcountries range widely, from China and Finland on the low end, recycling 33 and 38 percent of the paper they use, to South Korea and Germany on the high end, at 77 and 66 percent.

The United States, the world’s largest paper consumer, is far behind South Korea, but it has raised the share of paper recycled from roughly one fourth in the early 1980s to 50 percent in 2005. If every country recycled as much of its paper as South Korea does, the amount of wood pulp used to produce paper worldwide would drop by one third.

The use of paper, perhaps more than any other single product, reflects the throwaway mentality that evolved during the last century. There is an enormous possibility for reducing paper use simply by replacing facial tissues, paper napkins, disposable diapers, and paper shopping bags with reusable cloth alternatives.

The largest single demand on trees—the need for fuel—accounts for just over half of all wood removed from forests.Some international aid agencies, including the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), are sponsoring  fuelwood efficiency projects.

One of AID’s more promising projects is the distribution of 780,000 highly efficient wood cookstoves in Kenya that not only use far less wood than a traditional stove but also pollute less.Kenya is also the site of a solar cooker project sponsored by Solar Cookers International.

These inexpensive cookers, made from cardboard and aluminum foil and costing $10 each, cook slowly, much like a crockpot. Requiring less than two hours of sunshine to cook a complete meal, they can greatly reduce firewood use at little cost. They can also be used to pasteurize water, thus saving lives.

Over the longer term, developing alternative energy sources is the key to reducing forest pressure in developing countries.Replacing firewood with solar thermal cookers, or even with electric hotplates fed by wind-generated electricity or with some other energy source, will lighten the load on forests.

< Prev   Next >
© 2019 The Environmentalist
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.