Rain forests are cradles of biodiversity. They are indispensable for the world’s fresh water supply and a guarantee for the long term fertility of agricultural soils. The forests in Mindanao are disappearing at increasing speed in spite of worldwide conservation attempts. This means huge losses for the planet’s gene pool, drying up of rivers and water tables, and endangering food security for the world’s human population in addition to climate change resulting from carbon dioxide accumulation in the atmosphere. An unholy mix of global disasters is in the make in the decades to come. Disasters may range from mass starvation, wars to control remaining fresh water resources, and billions of refugees from flooded coastal areas. What are the reasons for this scary scenario?
As more and more people are living in urban settings, people have lost touch with the natural world. Forests are merely seen as a source of wood for paper pulp, good for one time exploitation in a “quick rich” scheme without any consideration for the real cost to be shouldered by the next generation. People still living in forested areas traditionally make a living from hunting and gathering of forest products. This could be done sustainably when there were few people and abundant forests. With dwindling forests and increasing pressure from hunting, logging, mining, migration, and other destructive activities like burning and unsustainable farming, the forests are no longer productive. The remaining species are driven towards extinction. Forest protection is in the interest of the local inhabitants and for all people on our dear planet “Gaia”. Local people need the forest for their livelihood. It is often all they have. Destruction of the forests will condemn the indigenous people to abject poverty and famine. Still they are in the best position to become protectors of their own environment. For this they need the support of the urban elite, who also have a vested interest in protection of the forests. Protection of the forests means water shed protection, flood protection, prevention of soil erosion, prevention of loss of fertility, and on a global scale prevention of carbon dioxide accumulation in the atmosphere. Without forests we will all starve, drown, and suffocate.