In some ways, China seems ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to the environment. But that's deceptive. China's incredible rate of business growth is affecting the environment at an alarming rate. A report from Greenpeace says that China is the world leader in deforestation. Forests are needed, not only because they help produce the oxygen we breathe, but because they "inhale" the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, so they reduce global warming. Many countries, such as Italy, have fulfilled the international Kyoto Treaty simply by agreeing to plant trees.
Michael McCarthy writes in the Independent that not only is China chopping down its own trees to fuel its building boom, it?s importing them as well. One out of every ten tropical hardwood logs imported into China comes from the world's tropical rainforests. We reported earlier on the devastating drought in the Amazon rain forest caused by deforestation, and how it may effect us in the rest of the world.
Brazil claims it is doing only selective logging, of the kind that is done here in the US. This means that a forest is thinned by removing a few mature trees, leaving the rest to grow. But satellite images reveal this can be as dangerous as clear cutting. Every year, unregulated selective logging destroys an area of rainforest as big as the state of Connecticut.
The Amazon is the largest rainforest on Earth?almost as big the continental US. It includes not only parts of Brazil, but seven other South American countries as well.
Satellite photos have revealed that about 5,800 square miles of rain forest are clear cut every year, in order to clear land for cattle ranching and farming. But this amount doubles when you factor in selective logging.
Our government has a great deal of influence in China, since we are one of their primary trading partners. We have surplus lumber here in the US, and so does Canada, so why can't we make some sort of agreement with them about this?
Art credit: www.freeimages.co.uk
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