Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Time Is Running Out for Borneo's Rainforest - Time to Take Action

Thick smoke in Borneo resulting from slash-and...Image via WikipediaBy Fabrice Marre

Deforestation is a global problem, not only in tropical countries but all around the world. About 30% of the carbon we use is captured by boreal forests, but Borneo has the highest deforestation rate in the world. The equivalent of 300 football fields are destroyed every hours. While politicians - usually focused on short-term economic issues - don't give enough importance to this problem, Borneo's biodiversity-rich forest is inexorably vanishing.

Seen from above, analysis of satellite images paint a frightening picture of Borneo. During the past twenty years, two millions acres were cleared annually and the deforestation rate is not decreasing. Industrial large-scale clearing of forests for monocrop agriculture such as palm oil and cattle grazing is the main cause of deforestation in this region. In addition, gold mining is causing an ecological disaster, polluting rivers and affecting the local people.

In Borneo and Sumatra, consequences of deforestation are dramatically impacting the local biodiversity and orangutans are one of the many victims. Powerless against human environmental dictatorship, some associations such as the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, laid by Dr Willie Smits, have been fighting on their behalf.

The destruction of the Borneo rainforest may seem a world away from the urban comforts of industrialised civilisation, but raising their awareness about the importance of conservation is a major step towards a better future. Education of young generations is the key and by involving them in the fight, they will make better decision-makers.

The long-term consequences of global deforestation would jeopardise life on Earth as we know it. What makes life sustainable on this planet is the many recycling processes involved. Cutting down trees remove natural fertilisers such as leaves and animal faeces and the consequence is a poorer quality of soil, which is the main cause of desertification. Forest destruction is damaging the ability of the earth to absorb carbon, and damaging these carbon sinks directly contributes to rising temperatures, pollution and erosion.

Many environmental groups such as DeforestAction are heavily involved in the fight against deforestation, and using the power of the web and the media, they develop collaborative projects with schools and young people from all over the planet.

The latest DeforestAction project will involve award-wining Brisbane company, Virgo Productions, to develop a 3D feature documentary and a TV series following ten young change makers in their fight to save orangutans and raise awareness about deforestation.

Fabrice Marre is a citizen of the world. A native of France, a resident of Australia and a global traveller. Fabrice has seen first-hand the destruction of the World's ecosystems. As a satellite mapping specialist, Fabrice has contributed to the 2004 Indonesia tsunami reconstruction effort, has monitored oil spills as well as the destruction of the Amazon rainforest from high above.

He is now aiming for the front line to help correct the damage caused by others:

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