Some might argue that the answer is quite simple: stop cutting the trees down and that alone will protect the forest. But there are a lot of people on the other side of the issue who want to cut the trees and clear forests for “development.”
A few years ago, one of the U.S. government’s appointed “experts” said that environmental issues are actually economic issues. There are activists who desire only to protect the forests from being destroyed. They would argue that there is no economic factor involved. For them, human beings have the task of protecting the forests by not clearing them.
But what about this development issue, in which the use of the trees and the land is an economic question. Are the business people to be ignored completely or denied the opportunity to use natural resources for profit?
Somewhere in the middle is an answer that might be able to protect the forests while allowing limited use of the trees and land. Focusing on maintaining the diversity of the planet’s forests should be at the top of the list with this plan. After all, clear-cutting forests doesn’t help even the business people in the long run.
To keep these diverse, life-sustaining areas alive we must study and understand the complete forest system rather than seeing it as a stand of large trees that provide a home for a few birds and insects. If we do that, we can make informed decisions about how many trees can be cut and processed, along with defining how many acres can be cleared for human use without destroying the forest completely. In essence, we must manage a complete landscape, including the forest floor, the streams and lakes, and the air that supports life.
Some of the people who are quite active in forest preservation, on several continents, emphasize that we must begin by protecting the tiny bits of virgin timber still remaining, as well as put older forests off limits until we understand how the resources can be used correctly. A second step in this plan would be to stop converting forest land to large farming operations. Instead, activists and environmental experts propose, we should limit the size of agricultural operations based on the needs of the environment rather than on the needs of a few profit-making corporations.
The number of people who have recognized deforestation as a serious problem has increased in recent years, especially with the massive destruction of forested land in the past five years. Satellite technology has allowed scientists and environmentalists to view the planet from a different perspective, one that shows the alarming disappearance of green areas on the Earth. Those who are truly knowledgeable about the Earth and its resources note that human beings will be affected along with the rest of the living things when forests are destroyed. Perhaps the answer to the original question, “What can we do to preserve the forest? is: See it as an essential factor in human life rather than as a resource to be exploited.