Interesting question! Is the government supposed to take care of rain forests??

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by photopro, Apr 9, 2008.

  1. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I received a very interesting question today. One I'm not sure I wish to tackle. So I thought I'd see what kind of response I get here and then I'll send the link to the person who asked.

    "Is the government supposed to take care of the rain forests?"

    Now, I guess that would depend on what kind of rain forest. There are areas in the NW United States and Canada that qualify as rain forests. But I believe the person was asking about tropical rain forests since my website deals with tropical plants.

    Here's the problem. There are no tropical rain forests north of Mexico! All of them in our hemisphere are found in Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. I don't believe the United States government has any real jurisdiction in any of those countries, although our government does sometimes try to claim it! And sorry, the Florida Everglades do not qualify as a rain forest. So my question to the person who asked would be, "how are we supposed to take care of someone else's rain forests?"

    Certainly, I think all of us should protect them. The idea of cutting down rain forest trees to grow coffee, sugar cane or corn for biofuels really doesn't appeal to me. But it is being done at an alarming rate. Our own President went to Brazil last year to promote the growing of more sugar cane, thus the destruction of more rain forest. Brazil is loosing the rain forest at an alarming rate. So give me some feedback. Fortunately, the current government in Brazil is at least doing some work on buying back some of those coffee farms and replanting the forest. But we also have some very unfriendly regimes in many of the South American countries that own those rain forests!

    Should the United States government dictate to other sovereign nations that we have some control over their rain forests? If we do, how are we going to take care of their rain forests?

    I'd really like to hear your response.
     
  2. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I don't really think that the US government has either the right or the jurisdiction to dictate what the governments of other countries (regardless of how "developed" they are by US standards) can or cannot do with their rain forests, or any other natural resource for that matter.

    On the other hand, if the US government could dictate policy to other countries (not to say that it doesn't already, I'm looking at you, Colombia...) I think that perhaps it's a teensy bit overextended fiscally at the moment, so I'm not sure whether it could support any exterior programmes for rainforest conservation. Additionally, its track record with other forests in its own territory is not at all encouraging.

    Just supposing that the US government had the jurisdiction, funds, and gumption to attempt a project of this scale, given the size of the areas in South America alone that requires protection would mean that they'd have to recall the entire army from Iraq, and send them along with most of the reserves to enforce compliance and prevent illegal tree-poaching. And I'm not entirely certain that even that would be effective.

    I'm speaking from Ecuador, which the US government deems to be borderline unfriendly, and where the government has already protected more than 75% of the remaining Tropical Rainforests, via National Parks, Provincial Parks, and something called the "Intangible Zones" which protect not only the forest but the Shuar, Huaorani and Taormeni people who live there. Portions of the forests additional to this 75% are protected by private non-profit organisations. The government here is attempting to do the same things for other threatened biomes, including our Montane Cloud Forests, Subtropical Dry Forests, and Mangroves.

    Both as a Lorax and as a person, I agree with Steve - all forests should be protected. What's going on in Brazil is absolutely atrocious, and the rate at which our neighboring Colombia is napalming its Rainforests to root out the FARC is truly frightening...
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    You're assuming "the government" = the US government . . .

    Yes, the Brazilian government, and the Indonesian government, etc., etc., etc., are supposed to take care of tropical rain forests . . . sometimes they do, more often they don't.

    The Costa Rican government probably has the best record in this topic. Pity there aren't more governments like them.
     
  4. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Governments can influence what happens in other countries by prohibiting the import of endangered species, prohibiting or discouraging (by tariffs as example) the import of products that promote the loss of these habitats. The same goes for consumers, who care can make better purchase decisions. Another way governments and citizens can help is to fund environmental protection in poor countries that may be dealing with more pressing problems like feeding their people. Governments can play big rolls in education and research as well.

    Is it the responsibility for the government to do this? If the citizens of the country in question (posed by an American here, but relevant to other nations as well) request it or demand it, then I guess it is the governments responsibility.
     
  5. edleigh7

    edleigh7 Well-Known Member

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    The government over here "protect" the government owned rainforests ie National Parks and Conservation Parks. I think even private land owners who have some rainforest on their property have to apply to the government if they want to remove any part of it for whatever reason ie grazing, agriculture etc


    Ed
     
  6. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I believe you guys are all in line with the way I would have answered! But better the questioner reads it from everyone! Sorry I didn't state explicitly the "United States Government", but since the questioners email address appears to be in the U.S. I can only assume they were asking about the United States goverment.

    Please keep the answers coming so when I send the link they will have much more to consider.
     
  7. Sabine

    Sabine Active Member

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    I would hope that the US Government would take care of their own forests before handling other country's problems.

    They may not be tropical, but they still are home to millions of species, and they are right in our own backyards. Lets prove we can take care of our own before trying to take on more problems.
     
  8. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Has the link been sent to the person? I'd prefer this discussion to be in the Conversations and Chat area (members-only access).
     
  9. karmahappytoes

    karmahappytoes Active Member

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    One would need to talk to the Gov. that actually owns the said Rain Forests?
     
  10. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I had planned on sending this next week Daniel. So if you wish to move it, please feel free. Once I see that you've placed it in the new forum I'll forward he link.
     
  11. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

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    I agree that if one is speaking of the U.S. government, then we have no business dictating what another country can or cannot do with their own forests. I would even go further to state that the U.S. government nor any other foreign country does not have the business of giving financial assistance to organizations that support conservation of forests in other countries. That is the realm of the private citizen to choose whether or not to donate their own money toward the cause, it should not be mandatory...not at this time.

    A country has to take care of their own. If they are unwilling to do that, then I would say that is a tragedy.

    Perhaps a better approach would be to have several countries sit down and come up with an agreement that, "in the interest of our planet's welfare", we all must do our own part. If the world community wants to put forth a united front and do what must be done to stop the deforestation, I'm all for it. We may come to that...I hope we do.

    The bottom line is that "money talks and the bull$!#^ walks". The forests will continue to burn as long as it is in the financial interest of that particular country. Yes, it is their short-term gain and our planet's long-term pain. If, somehow, it becomes NOT in their financial interest to destroy the forests, only then it will stop.
     
  12. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    C+C is a members-only area, so he / she wouldn't be able to see it there, unless he / she registered.
     

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