biodiversity and species existence across the world. Huge percentages of the rainforest in a number of tropical countries, including Indonesia, Brazil, and Malaysia, has been destroyed to make way for palm oil and soy plantations and cattle ranches. There are a number of ways that the extent of deforestation can be reduced. These include:
Don’t eat products containing palm oil
While some small amount of palm oil may be sustainably produced, the majority comes from recently cleared land. A large percentage of the world’s palm oil production comes from Indonesia, where the rainforest is being cleared at an alarming rate to make way for new plantations¹.
Buy sustainable wood products
Illegal logging also contributes to deforestation, and is rampant throughout the world. By ensuring that any wood products you buy are certified as sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council, you can reduce the effects of illegal logging².
Fight governmental corruption
Corrupt governments are often payed off by illegal logging companies to ignore their activities. Reducing this corruption will go a long way towards reducing deforestation¹.
Increase authority presence
In many poorer countries – such as Indonesia – the lack of police presence and law enforcement means that illegal deforestation often goes unpunished and unnoticed, even though it is destroying these countries¹.
Although initiatives like community tree drives won’t offset the biodiversity and environmental destruction caused by deforestation, they can help slow climate change and reduce the greenhouse effect – something which forest clearing contributes a lot to².
Restore degraded forests
Non-profit organisations such as The Sierra Club are working throughout the world to restore degraded forests and return them to their former glory. While this doesn’t reduce deforestation directly, it can offset its effects³.
Use less paper
Paper is made from wood, which comes from trees. Since illegally cleared rainforest offers a cheap source of wood for paper production, reducing your paper use will decrease the need to continue clearing forests².
Redefine corporate policies
Large corporations and companies are able to make more difference than anyone else. If they introduce ‘zero deforestation’ policies and source their products from sustainable sources, then they can make a huge, huge change¹.
Respect the rights of indigenous people
Although this isn’t an issue which is well publicised or widely realised, deforestation destroys the lives of millions of indigenous people. When they are given equal rights and their traditional lands are respected, then the incidence of illegal deforestation will begin to drop, as they will be able to legally fight for their homes¹.
By educating local farmers about optimising the use of the land they have available, less new areas will need to be cleared³.
Use advertising campaigns to show people the problem
Often problems such as deforestation continue to occur because of a lack of awareness and knowledge about the problem. By educating people about the effects of their actions – in consuming palm oil or soy for example – the amount of deforestation can be reduced³.
Eco-forestry refers to selectively logging certain trees while causing minimal damage to the rest of the forest. This means that commercial logging is able to continue, but the forest ecosystem is relatively unaffected³.
Build artificial bat roosts
According to recent research, bats pollinate in the same way bees and butterflies do. By building artificial homes and encouraging them to live in deforested areas, scientists hope that they will help the recovery of the forest⁴.
Reduce meat consumption
While this is a solution that is relatively specific to North America, it still applies worldwide. In many places in the Amazon, rainforest is being cleared to make way for huge cattle ranches. If we stop eating meat, then the demand for meat products will decrease, and the deforestation of the Amazon should decrease⁵.
Stop relying on firewood as a fuel
Since firewood obviously comes from trees, by reducing its use, we reduce the need to cut these trees down – reducing the effects of deforestation⁵.