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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

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Berger describes sociologists as concerned with
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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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