Sunday, August 10, 2008

Methods of conservation of forests

The challenge of conservation is to understand the complex connections among natural resources and balance resource use with protection to ensure an adequate supply for future generations. In order to accomplish this goal, a variety of conservation methods are used. These include:
1. reducing consumption of resources
2. protecting them from contamination or pollution
3. reusing or recycling resources when possible
4. fully protecting, or preserving, resources.

Consumption of natural resources rises dramatically every year as the human population increases and standards of living rise. From 1950 to 2000 the world population more than doubled to 6 billion people, with nearly 80 percent living in developing, or poorer, nations. The large, developed nations, however, are responsible for the greatest consumption of natural resources because of their high standards of living. For instance, the average American consumes as much energy as 27 Filipinos or 370 Ethiopians.

Conservation education and the thoughtful use of resources is necessary in the developed countries to reduce natural-resource consumption. For example, reducing the high demand for tropical hardwoods such as teak and mahogany in the United States and Japan would slow the rate of tropical forest destruction.

In many cases it is possible to reuse or recycle resources to reduce waste and resource consumption. For example, paper can be recycled. Many states in the United States have established mandatory recycling laws in an attempt to reduce waste and consumption.

On the other hand, forests are so unique or valuable that they are protected from activities that would destroy or degrade them. For example, national parks and wilderness areas are protected from logging or mining in the United States because such activities would reduce the economic, recreational, and aesthetic values of the resource. Forests and wetlands (areas with high soil moisture or surface water) may be protected from development because they enhance air and water quality and provide habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals. Unfortunately, these areas are often threatened with development because it is difficult to measure the economic benefits of cleaner air, cleaner water, and the many other environmental benefits of these ecosystems (the plants and animals of a natural community and their physical environment).

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