Accept the Lorax Foundation's Offer of Assistance for Deforestation
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Six years ago, in the year 2014, humankind lost 1% of the limited 31% of forests that had covered the Earth's surface for a millennia. In the same year, the WWF released a report of statistics suggesting that at the rate at which deforestation was occurring, there was a great chance of all rainforests disappearing from the Earth within the next century.
Borneo and Sumatra are two of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on Earth and have rainforests that amount approximately 3% of the rainforest landmass that still exists today. Unfortunately, much like the deforestation threats that plague the Amazon rainforests, government figures have shown that over 50% of this diverse habitat has already been destroyed, and up to 70% of what remains has been granted to corporations to legally convert into palm or acacia plantations. The biggest changes that have threatened this biome is the rising demand for products fuelled by nature's limited resources.
Deforestation has been a continual process, caused by human activities. It is estimated that globally, 1 hectare of rainforest is destroyed every second. Industries rely on resources from rainforests to make money. Some products include palm oil, vegetable oil and wood/paper products. We believe that the Sumatran Rainforest will be mostly gone by 2035 if no action is taken. Scientists have also warned that many of Indonesia’s species could be extinct by 2035, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature have stated that orangutan numbers are in precipitous decline.
Forests all over the world are being exploited for their limited resources. Logging procedures are not always done legally. Loggers frequently build roads and pathways in order to reach more remote forests, often acting illegally. Forests are also cut as a result of growing urban sprawl.
The consequences of this ongoing deforestation include contributions to climate change, erosion of habitat, and social issues such as conflict, increased poverty and displacement of locals migrating to city areas.
Deforestation leads to an increased rate of global warming, because trees absorb greenhouse gases which fuel global warming. Forest canopies shade other organisms, so cutting of trees means that plants and animals don’t have protection from the sun’s rays and heat doesn’t stay at night. Both of these combined will cause extreme temperatures which are harmful to the flora and fauna.
As well as extreme temperatures, deforestation means a loss of habitat for species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has said that only 250-400 tigers and fewer than 100 rhinoceroses remain in the forests. Sumatran orangutans are likely to become extinct in the wild in the next 20 years, followed closely by Bornean orangutans.
It has been reported that deforestation in Indonesia has caused a dramatic rise in violence, with over 600 major land conflicts recorded in palm plantations in 2013, more than 5000 human rights abuses and 22 deaths. Several communities’ loss of traditional forest because of multinational companies is what triggered the violence.
The economies struggle under the weight of looking after the environment and locals while land is exploited for the profit of industries. Most alarming are the trends over the past few decades which strongly indicate an acceleration of logging activities in these delicate ecosystems.
Initiating a long term project that fights for this rainforest requires the utmost attention, maintenance effort and funds to support locals and economies as this science becomes a reality. Already, deforestation and plantation projects located in and around this rainforests are beginning to change the land environmentally and societally.
In the face of such an urgent crisis, our team has developed a campaign that is tailored to protect, salvage and replenish the Borneo and Sumatran rainforests.
Our mission is to ultimately implement a three-tiered programme which increases public awareness, encourages social & political activism and uses aspects of available biotechnology to limit the occurrence, and detrimental impacts, of deforestation in the Sumatran rainforest.
Our programme starts here with a petition for the full adoption and worldwide implementation of a global, government-funded "Nature Fund" where environmental funds are increased for developed economies to fund a range of ongoing initiatives that will improve the natural state of the Earth. The first area of urgency will be the Borneo-Sumatran region. While Australia has been one of the largest donors to the Indo-Pacific region in the past 10 years with quite significant aid sent to our Southeast Asian counterparts, a sharper focus and more funding is required in these critical times. A global fund and organisation will put strong efforts into protecting and saving natural regions, their peoples and ecosystems, which have long been facing heavy threat due to the consequences of deforestation in the past.
Should a Nature Fund be put in place, further progress will be able to be made in the protection of this precious land. Governments should see this is as an urgent call to action before it is too late. The first attention will be given to Borneo and Sumatra, and economies such as these will need boosting to support further schemes and projects, research, environmental initiatives and shifts in employment patterns.
For example, a initiative we will soon propose involves a Deforestation Tax which places a tax on the land space cleared by companies, and pay companies to NOT deforest endangered areas.
Ideally, remaining funds in the Borneo-Sumatra budget of the Nature Fund will go towards creating plantations, which cater for ongoing demand for these products while allowing the original Sumatran rainforest to replenish itself. This is the Replenish Stage of our three-tiered solution.
We are yet to release a petition for our worldwide Deforestation Tax as well as a smartphone app and an official website (Awareness Stage).
How will it cause change?
Funding to the Sumatran region will be essential in the implementation of GM plantations and other projects. To ensure smart-spending in Australia, our national expenditure will be regularly monitored by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Trends and statistics provided by the World Wildlife Fund show that 12 to 15 million hectares of forest are lost each year, and according to the United Nations, the world population has increased by 1 billion over the last two decades. Due to the increasing demand and declining supply for resources, we will advocate for change through the commercialisation of genetically-modified trees. The plantation will mimic the industrial and agricultural purposes of, for example, the forests of Borneo and Sumatra; supplying timber and palm oil. This acts as an outlet to respond to the soaring demands while sustaining our living standards in the 21st century, without further impact on the natural environment or straining biodiversity.
The Nature Fund would also support endangered animals (including orangutans, the Sumatran tiger and Bornean pygmy elephant) by redirecting attention to the genetically modified plantation. It allows time for species to reproduce, their natural habitat to expand and ultimately, stabilise biodiversity loss in the Bornean and Sumatran forests.
Our proposed Deforestation Tax will provide a money-based incentive for companies to stop logging in Borneo and Sumatra while placing a tax, by hectares cleared, on companies who do continue to deforest.
Our petition aims to raise money to fund projects such as this tax to preserve the existing forests, and also to contribute to shift the focus of extractive level industries from our natural forests to an artificial, and less environmentally harmful, alternative.
The Sumatran rainforest has been reduced from a vastly diverse rainforest thirty years ago to an industrial landscape filled with acacia and palm tree plantations. The rainforest now accounts for 3 per cent of the world’s forests, yet the deforestation in this region represents over a third of the global carbon emissions from deforestation and land degradation. Nearly a million hectares are being cut every year from these plantations and permission has been granted to convert up to 70 percent of what is left into palm and acacia plantations.
Deforestation has had a huge toll on wildlife and it has been predicted that many of Indonesia’s species will become extinct by the next two decades. Orangutan numbers are dramatically declining, only 250 - 400 tigers remain and fewer than 100 rhino are left in the forest, said the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
"This is the fastest, most comprehensive transformation of an entire landscape that has ever taken place anywhere in the world including the Amazon. If it continues at this rate all that will be left in 20 years is a few fragmented areas of natural forest surrounded by huge manmade plantations. There will be increased floods, fires and droughts but no animals." -Yuyun Indradi, political forest campaigner with Greenpeace south-east Asia in Jakarta.
The deforestation of the Sumatran forest does not only affect the environment but affects the surrounding individuals and communities. Rising violence has accompanied the deforestation with 600 major land conflicts, 5000 human right abuses and 22 deaths and hundreds of injuries.
"We would die for this [forest] if necessary. This is a matter of life and death. The forest is our life. We depend on it when we want to build our houses or boats. We protect it. The permits were handed out illegally, but now we have no option but to work for the companies or hire ourselves out for pitiful wage. Life is terrible now. We are ruined. This forest was everything for us," said one village leader from Teluk Meranti who feared to give his name."
At the incredible rate of deforestation in the Sumatran rainforest, the impending fate of the rainforest and the local animals will be determined by our actions today.
As one can see, deforestation has had, and continues to have, adverse effects on the natural world and its inhabitants, from governments to individuals locally and globally. We’ve already lost the vast majority of one of Mother Nature's most prominent features. By eroding the habitats of local animals such as Sumatran tigers and orangutans in the case of the Sumatran Rainforest, increasing poverty and contributing greatly to global warming and greenhouse emissions, deforestation is killing our planet.
Governments are bowing to the organisations, and extractive industries are only destroying the rare remaining areas at increasing rates. Yet, the people can change this. Contributing your signature is another promise for this petition, another support for an international organisation and its environmental regulations and funding that will finally put an end to deforestation and replenish lost nature.
All it will take is a few moments, and the world will be one step closer to regaining its natural forest beauty.
Half a decade ago, in 2015, there was only 30% of the world’s forests remaining. Today, due to utilisation rates and trends, there is barely enough to support us for more than another decade. Deforestation first became a recorded wide-scale problem in the Industrial Revolution in the mid-19th century. From there, clearing out for land space and utilisation of materials led to rapidly increasing rates of deforestation. Today, it is time the people acted to finally mitigate this upcoming disaster, before we reach the point of no return.
Along with contributing to this petition, you can help this cause by downloading our upcoming app, as well as understanding and sharing your knowledge of our various solutions, including genetically modified trees (which will be implemented firstly in the Sumatran Rainforest).
Stay tuned for further information on our campaign when you add your email to the petition.
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