10 October 2008

Sawing Off the Branch on which We Sit

I am a great believer in trees and the commons they form; it seems to me that going beyond preserving them to extend their coverage across the world could help deal with many of the most pressing problems facing mankind: climate change, desertification, water, etc.

It has always struck me as barmy that the contribution that trees make to the planet has not been better quantified; now it has:

The global economy is losing more money from the disappearance of forests than through the current banking crisis, according to an EU-commissioned study.

It puts the annual cost of forest loss at between $2 trillion and $5 trillion.

The figure comes from adding the value of the various services that forests perform, such as providing clean water and absorbing carbon dioxide.

The study, headed by a Deutsche Bank economist, parallels the Stern Review into the economics of climate change.

Think about that, and then think of the continuing destruction of forests around the world - in the Amazon, in Africa, in Indonesia, in Russia. This really is the literal equivalent of sawing off the branch on which the whole of humanity sits....


Anonymous said...

And in many cases, even with "forest management," the trees that are replaced are ones in which nothing lives or feeds from, such as pine trees. They'll miss them when they're gone, but for now, these countries see forests as yet one more commodity.

Glyn Moody said...

Ah yes, "commodities", "instruments", those old favourites....