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Finally, consider the extinction of the Java tiger. Habitat for these beasts has been so constricted over the past half century by population pressure and poverty-driven fuelwood harvests that, at most two were left by the year 2,000. Now the Java Tiger is considered extinct.


Ignorance, or better said, the absence, or inaccessibility of good scientific and ecological information, underlies much environmental degradation in Indonesia, just as elsewhere.

Ignorance about key determinants of the fragile ecology of tropical forests prevented Indonesia, Brazil and other countries from knowing how to utilize the renewable products and services of natural forests in a sustainable way. Some countries, fortunately not Indonesia, do not even keep statistics on the value of production and exports of the non-wood forest products that can be harvested without cutting down trees. These non-wood products include food, for both plants and animals, traditional medicines from forest: herbs, vines and drugs.

Catastrophe and the role of ignorance: tropical forestry

Very large scale exploration of tropical forests began only in 1946 first in the Philippines, amidst virtually complete ignorance of ecology of the tropical forest. It is now widely recognized that this ecology is fragile and complex, but otherwise not much ignorance about it has been dispelled. Even now little is known about such vital ecological issues as what happens in regeneration of cut-over or cleared stands, flowering and fruiting in the natural forest or the role of forest animals in seed distribution. This is because some tropical trees flower only at 30 year intervals. This is not irrelevant in efforts to understanding forest ecology.

Second, a high degree of ignorance remains regarding the effects of human encroachment upon natural tropical forests. This is because information on the economic as well as the environmental impact of the forest utilization is grossly incomplete and deeply flawed. We will see that these flaws are particularly glaring in systems of national income accounting used by all nations. Consequently, there is a clear bias in decisions about forest utilization, in favor of activities most corrosive of the long-term value of tropical forest assets. We will discuss this later.

The problem has not been confined to Indonesia. And as noted earlier, until recently ignorance was almost total everywhere regarding the fertility of deforested tropical timber land. Now, we know in Brazil that such soil has the color of cement, and is not much richer in nutrients than cement.

Brazil's forests

There are many lessons to be learned from Brazil’s experiences with their tropical forests since 1960.

Brazil’s tropical forest is the largest on earth.

Consider the distance between Chicago and Juneau, Alaska. This is the size of the Brazilian State if Amazonas, almost all of which is or was forest. But Amazonas contains only part of the forest, there was a very large forest areas in the adjacent states of Para, Amapa and Mata Grasso.

For about 3 decades, deforestation raged in Brazil, but there was mostly studied ignorance about it among Government officials in Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, the nation’s capital.

Between 1980 to 2006, 17% of the Forest vanished, as intact forests.

Put into perspective, this means that in Brazil, every year a chunk of forest equal to an average state in U.S. disappeared.

Just in 2004, over 16,000 square miles of forest vanished – an area twice the size of Massachusetts. In 2004, at least a billion, perhaps 1.3 billion trees fell to the chainsaw or the bulldozers. (U.S. News, Feb. 12, 2007). Even by 2013, about 2,256 square miles of Brazilian tropical forest was lost to deforestation in that one year.

Consider another consequence of ignorance about tropical forest. Consider this statement by Whitmore in 1974, in his Tropical Forests of the Fareast:

“Finally it must be noted that many forest mammals, especially monkeys and apes, harbor diseases caused by arboviruses and borne by mosquitoes and ticks, for example dengue fever . When the forest is logged, these diseases are easily transmitted to man and carried by him to urban areas where they can cause epidemics (Knudsen 1977; Lim, Muul, and Chai 1977).”


It is now fairly certain that the AIDS virus, jumped from apes to man in the Central African Rain Forest.

Questions & Answers

how can chip be made from sand
Eke Reply
are nano particles real
Missy Reply
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Economic development for the 21st century. OpenStax CNX. Jun 05, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11747/1.12
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