The UN Should Impose Tough Economic Sanctions On Countries That Exploit Their Forests Unsustainably.
2011 is the UN International Year of Forests. Forests cover almost a third of the Earth's landmass, are home to 300 million people and support the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people. Forests are overexploited when they are logged faster than the forest can grow back making the exploitation of the forest at such a rate unsustainable. Forests are extremely valuable not just to the people who live in them but to everyone on the planet. Rainforests like the Amazon are areas of huge biodiversity that have given us many effective medicines. The forests of the world are the earth’s lungs breathing in carbon dioxide and breathing out oxygen without which humans and other animals would not be able to live. As the forests are part of a global system the UN has to be at the forefront of forest protection.
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Forests should not be considered to belong just to the country within whose borders they are but to all of humanity. They are a kind of global commons where unsustainable exploitation of the forest and its destruction has consequences not just for the country that is overexploiting it but for the whole world. The rainforests absorb more than half the CO2 emissions that are absorbed on land, or more than a quarter of all CO2 that is taken out of the atmosphere.
[[Michael Kahn, Forests absorb 20 percent of fossil fuel emissions: study, Reuters, 18/2/09, http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE51H5KE20090218%5D%5D That is simply the rainforests so not including all the forests in temperate and colder regions such as the vast Taiga forests. The value of forests makes them an issue that the UN should take an interest in. In order for the UN to be able to protect forests it needs to be able to impose some kind of sanctions on those who are overexploiting them.
Cutting down forests may have an impact on everyone worldwide but they are very definately a national resource. They are within national bounderies and it is up to each nation to do as it wishes with their own trees. If they wish to cut them all down then that is no business of the UN. If other countries want more forests they should plant their own rather than putting sanctions on those who cut them down.
Not all deforestation can be blamed entirely on humans
Not all declines in forests are down to humans, or are only partially caused by humans. A good example of this is warming temperatures cause by climate change causing fires or disease. More than 13 million hectares of forest in western Canada have been affected by outbreaks of pine mountain beetles in recent years. Fire is the biggest threat to boreal forests, again this may be caused by human activity, particularly climate change.[[Boreal forests in wealthy countries being rapidly destroyed, mongabay.com, August 12, 2009, http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0812-boreal_forests.html%5D%5D While many believe climate change to be man made it would be difficult to punish countries that happen to be losing forests to such causes that the government could do little or nothing about.
What do you think?