Prince Charles has called for urgent action on tropical deforestation, arguing that the forests are essential for life on Earth, in a report published by his International Sustainability unit.
The report, notes that despite some success in reducing deforestation in some countries there are no signs yet that overall rates of deforestation or degradation are decreasing. The paper points to a previous study that suggested a year on year increase in the area deforested in the tropics of 200,000 hectares, overall the level of forest lost remains “significant” at around 8.5 million hectares annually.
The paper sets out a way forward for tackling the issue of deforestation, including creating deforestation-free supply chains for palm oil, soy and beef and integrating a method of valuing tropical forests into operations.
In the report, Prince Charles states, “For many decades, I have been profoundly concerned about the state and future of the world’s tropical forests. It remains my absolute conviction that all humanity and all creation would be deeply diminished if we were to lose these astonishing ecosystems. Indeed, I believe we simply cannot survive without them.”
He continued, “[Tropical forests] are the vital organs, in this case the ‘lungs’, of an essentially living, organic and integrated whole – our planet. There are no opportunities for transplants if they go wrong or we cause them irreparable damage by not caring for them. Our responsibilities as custodians or Earth, and to current and future generations for its wise stewardship, compel us to act.”
The International Sustainability unit notes that deforestation has implications for tackling climate change, as the capacity for forests to absorb and store carbon is being reduced. However, it also points out that deforestation can have an impact on a wide variety of areas, from food security to biodiversity.
The Prince of Wales concluded, “Given that the forests are in effect the planet’s lungs, destroying them can surely only be an act of insane irresponsibility. It is not, after all, that we lack the technology, the money or the ability to safeguard their survival and, therefore, our own.”
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