Certainly not, when hectares of forested land all around the world are still being cleared at an alarming rate for timber production or to turn forest land into arable land for the farming of cattle or cultivation of booming plant crops and products such as palm oil or soy beans .
This deforestation, much of which is unregulated or uncontrolled, puts constant pressure on indigenous populations in those areas, and the local flora and fauna, many of which are rare species.
Here are just some of the animal species at risk due to the effects of deforestation:
- Pygmy Elephants
- Sumatran, Javan, and Indian Elephants
- Harpy Eagles
- All species of Lemur, Spider Monkeys, Pandas, Koalas, and Forest Kangaroos.
This really is just the tip of the iceberg as thousands of animals and plants, and some fish, are at risk when such large areas of natural forest are still being cleared in often fragile and precious ecosystems. We also need to consider the other links in the food chain that would be affected by the diminishing numbers of other species or even worse their extinction.
Losing one species can result in the loss of others.
We should also consider that that there are many health benefits gained from plant life and there are already many trees and plants that people and animals rely on for specific foods and medicines, for example xylitol
is a naturally occurring sugar found in the bark of birch trees that is used by diabetics and to help weight loss.
There may yet be many medical advancements to be made through the study of plants and trees found in the rainforests of the world.
What can we do about it?
Well, being vegetarian is a good start, as this means you are less likely to be a significant contributor to deforestation for cattle raising.
However, even vegetarians can fall foul in this area and need to look out for products containing palm oil produced in countries or areas of the world where valuable forest is being cleared for cultivation of palm groves for the purpose of palm oil production.
You should also look out for other mass cultivated crops that are causing areas of old and natural forests, especially rain forests, to be cleared for their production. Of any environment on earth, it’s the rain forests that actually support the greatest diversity of living organisms.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
We can also help to reduce our impact on deforestation by being more considerate about timber and paper products we use in everyday life. You can start simply and easily by getting into the habit of printing documents using both sides of your paper and by making sure that you recycle as much paper as possible using your local council services.
If you have any DIY projects requiring timber, try sourcing wood that has already been used. Freecycle or Freegle are a good starting point for this. These are both forums where locals advertise unwanted items for free collection, where timber quite often gets advertised. There will be a Freecycle or Freegle forum to serve most areas. You often find other wood based products being offered such as paper for printing, or boxes for moving house.
A great deal of wood just gets dumped in skips, so keep your eyes peeled and don’t be afraid to do a bit of skip diving, but be sure to ask permission first if you can find the person who contracted the skip. It’s often obvious where the building work is taking place.
When buying new paper products, or other items that have paper used in the packaging, try to go for those that have used recycled paper in the production.
Some of these measures are quite simple, but if adopted by enough people, really can make a difference, so reduce, reuse, recycle and whilst you’re at it, spread the word about the benefits of recycling, a little bit of effort in your own home could contribute to the preservation of rare species, precious forests and unique indigenous populations.
At Real Foods we stock many household items that are produced using recycled materials www.realfoods.co.uk/recycled
and if you really want to get to the bottom of the waste problem, make a start with recycled toilet paper
. We also recycle all our waste paper and cardboard packaging and are continuously looking into how we can do more.
If you want to find out more about trees, recycling or freecycling, here are some links to point you in the right direction: