AMONG THE MANY NASTY things that humans are doing to the environment, few rank worse than destroying tropical forests. Rainforests sustain an astonishing diversity of species and keep our planet liveable by limiting soil erosion, reducing floods, maintaining natural water cycles, and stabilising the climate. Yet roughly 10 million hectares of tropical forest are destroyed every year – the equivalent of 50 football fields a minute.
September/October 2012 - a note by the Editor of ForestIndustries.EU: We wrote this article more than two years ago. Many significant events happened since then and a huge amount of new knowledge has been collected by the global community.
In 2007, more than 50,000 fires raged through the Brazilian Amazon, reducing what were once lush rainforests to charred plains stretching to the horizon. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, fires on the island of Borneo consumed millions of hectares of old-growth forests.
All carbon is not created equal: One ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) generated in New York from several McDonalds burgers, for instance, clocking in at 16kg per 1kg of meat, is not the equivalent of one ton of CO2 emitted in a country like South Africa, where energy generated from coal provides ba