CanopyCo carbon offsetting and reforestation in Ecuador, South America.


Deforestation is one of the key contributors to global warming and climate change. By destroying forests, the very system that helps absorb carbon dioxide and maintain atmospheric equilibrium is removed. In addition the extracted wood and the forest remnants decay, and the sequestered carbon dioxide is released back into the atmosphere.

By preserving the forests we protect the earth's lungs and maintain the sequestered carbon dioxide as carbon.

How do trees sequester CO2?

  Why is the rate of deforestation so high?  

Driving factors behind deforestation are multiple. Climatically, rainforests are of primary concern, and their rapid disappearance can be attributed to;

 * Demand for old growth hard woods that can lead to as much as 75% of the forest being cleared in order to extract just one prized trunk.

 *  Slash and burn agricultural techniques are prominent as poor land management and increasing population push human boundaries further into fragile ecosystems, accounting for the loss of around 200 000 acres daily. The rainforest is just one example, but here in Ecuador the coastal mangroves and the high moorland, or paramo, are also being invaded in search of new agricultural terrain.

 * Subtropical forest systems in Ecuador have been removed to make way for palm and eucalyptus plantations, for cooking oil or bio fuels and paper respectively, and some primary forest are even lost to the production of charcoal.

  Possible solutions to halt deforestation  

 * If the developed nations simply boycotted the use of old growth hard woods for furniture and flooring, and instead sourced local managed forest woods this could save thousands of acres of forests.

 * The conservation of primary forests to halt the advance of agriculture, bio fuel and eucalyptus plantations is a start, however this must be accompanied by development initiatives for communities to learn to live harmoniously with their environment and understand the struggle to keep big businesses from exploiting their natural resources.

 * Sustainable practices could be applied to already cleared areas for long lasting and improved agricultural productivity.

  Localised effects of deforestation  

 * Deforestation changes local weather patterns that will eventually lead to water sources drying up and in the extreme, desertification. As the population grows, demand for fresh and irrigation water is increasing rapidly, which can and has led to conflict; even back in the 90's, Ismail Serageldin, then vice-president of the World Bank, said that the wars of the 21st century will be about water.

 * Deforestation also has a massive impact on the animal kingdom, as huge areas of habitat for insects, animals and bird life are lost. The endangered species list continues to grow and we are witnessing unprecedented permanent losses of flora and fauna; estimates suggest we are losing well in excess of 100 species per day worldwide, many still to be discovered.

 * Every species alive has an important role to play in the maintenance of their eco-system, and for the well being of the planet.

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