Wednesday, March 30, 2005

NEWS - Population explosion is a time bomb for the Earth

This story on the Scotsman.com discusses how the Earth's population explosion is devastating the natural world.
We have been cutting down the world’s forests at such a rate over the past century that some African countries now have as little as 5-10 per cent of their original forest cover left. What remain of the planet’s forests are being lost at a rate of about 8 per cent per decade.
[...]
The tragedy that hides beneath these bald figures is brought sharply into focus by the prospects for our closest living relatives, the great apes. [...]The rate of deforestation in their strongholds in Sumatra and Borneo, and the resulting decline in orang[-utan] numbers, are such that there are unlikely to be any left in the wild in 2015.
[...]
The forecasts aren'’t much better for the gorilla and the chimpanzee. They will out-live their Asian cousin only by a few decades. A lethal combination of deforestation and hunting to feed a voracious market for "bushmeat" hold out a promise of only another 20-50 years for most wild populations.
In related news, this BBC article talks about the increased destruction of Indonesia's forests to help in the rebuilding of their towns in the wake of December's devastating Tsunamis.