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Technological

Deforestation increases as the technological means to do so become more available (e.g. chain saws, bulldozers, tractors). At the Jari plantation in the state of Para in the Brazilian Amazon where the native forest was replaced with plantations of fast-growing tree species, a more efficient way of getting rid of the native forest was needed. The solution was to fasten a chain to two giant bulldozers, a hundred meters apart. As the bulldozers plowed in parallel lines through the forest, the chain pulled down all the trees in the path (C.F. Jordan, pers. observ., 1984).

The development of agricultural technologies also has contributed to deforestation. Early supplies of palm oil, used to make margarine, cooking fats, and soap came from wild oil palm trees in the rain forests. However, as demand increased, forests were cleared, especially in Southeast Asia, for palm oil plantations. Large monoculture plantations linked to nearby processing plants are needed for efficient production. A typical estate in the Malaysian state of Sabah has five 1,000- to 2,000-ha plantation units plus workers' quarters (Grainger 1993).

4.2.2.4 Cultural

Cultural causes of deforestation include attitudes, values, and beliefs toward publicly owned properties, or toward resources that are perceived as being free. Many tropical forests are publicly owned, that is, they belong to the national government. People living in or near the forest often have a tradition of using the forest for their livelihood, and perceive their use of the forest as an inalienable right. Their ancestors have used the forest for generations, and the knowledge of how to use the forest and the biota that it contains is part of their cultural heritage.

Use of publicly owned resources becomes a problem when the demand for those resources exceeds the capacity of the environment to produce them. Hardin (1968) used the phrase "the tragedy of the commons" to encapsulate what can happen when commonly owned resources are overexploited. "Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all" (Hardin 1968, p. 1244). This thesis has been criticized because the access to many commons is not open to all, but limited, either by social pressure or legal restraint, to specific groups (Acheson 1987). However, forests in much of the tropics are, in fact, of open access. Most governments do not have the ability to protect these resources, so, in effect, they are free for the taking. While there are often governmental rules regulating the cutting of forests, they are difficult to enforce, and the common perception is that they will not be enforced.

The exploitation of the forest commons by traditional peoples is a cultural trait. However, their use of "free goods" leads to what could be called a feeding frenzy. Ranchers, loggers, miners, speculators, and shifting cultivators, once they see that others have access to the forest, reason that they also should have this right. The economically rational thing to do is to make a claim to land, and the way to do that is to cut down the trees, because that, according to the law in many tropical countries, is what constitutes "making the land productive". Each man is locked into a system that compels him to cut down more forest. This is hardly a traditional cultural trait, but is rather an example of human response to the global culture of acquisitiveness.

Tolerance of corruption is also a cultural trait. Bribery and corruption are severe problems because forest resources are often controlled by a few powerful individuals or clans that regard logging as an opportunity for personal enrichment. In the Philippines, for example, it is common knowledge that President Marcos' family acquired extraordinary wealth by selling logging concessions to foreign companies (Stone and D'Andrea 2001).

4.2.2.5 Demographic

Increases in population result in increasing pressure to open up forested lands to agriculture. The increases can come from high population growth of settlers already in the region or from migrants from overcrowded cities (Cas-tellanet and Jordan 2002). Sometimes such migrations are subsidized by governments responding to pressure to open up forested areas as a relief valve for overcrowded regions of the country. The opening of the Trans-Amazon highway in Brazil was motivated in part to give drought-stricken farmers of Brazil's northeast access to Amazonian lands. The Indonesian Transmigration Program described in Box 4.1 is also an example. Migrations also occur when small farms in one region of the country are appropriated by corporate agriculture, and the newly landless farmers must be resettled. For example, the migration of landless farmers to Rondonia in the western Amazon was prompted by the development of soybean mega-farms in southern Brazil (Jordan 1995 b).

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