Saving the Forests

Conservation efforts are mounting, but so are the losses


For the past decade, environmentalists have been warning that the world's forests are being eradicated. Seemingly insatiable demands for timber, fuel-wood and other products are only part of the problem. Forests also face growing pressure, especially in developing countries, from cattle ranchers and farmers. Now scientists' warnings about “global warming” are giving new urgency to deforestation concerns. Evidence is mounting that tree loss intensifies the so-called greenhouse effect because burning and decaying trees release heat-trapping carbon dioxide. The causes of deforestation are clear, but they are complex and interrelated, and efforts to stem the tide have been largely ineffective. A worldwide environmental summit on global warming scheduled for next year is likely to focus new attention on forest destruction.

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