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Old 20th July 2009, 15:43   #1
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Default Saving our Forests : What the individual can do

Apparently deforestation accounts for nearly 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, a larger source of emissions than all the world's cars, trucks, ships, and airplanes combined. This is a startling fact which most of us seem to be hardly aware of.

Saving our forests suddenly becomes top priority.

I quote from an article at Tropical Rainforest Conservation - mongabay.com

A recent declaration issued by political leaders meeting at the G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy, included a strong statement on the need to include forest conservation in a future climate agreement.

Leaders said they would support efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) by combatting illegal logging, addressing drivers of deforestation, and promoting "conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks."

The following is the section of the declaration related to REDD:

Aware that deforestation accounts for approximately 20% of annual CO2 emissions, and that forests are an essential repository of biological diversity and key to the livelihoods and rights of many people, we remain engaged in seeking the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and in further promoting sustainable forest management globally. We will:
  • a) support the development of positive incentives in particular for developing countries to promote emission reductions through actions to reduce deforestation and forest degradation. Considering that these measures will provide tangible results only in the medium term, it is also crucial to undertake early action initiatives to urgently tackle drivers of deforestation, and we will cooperate to identify innovative instruments in this respect, including through initiatives such as UN programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and the Informal Working Group on Interim Finance for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (IWG-IFR);
  • b) continue to support efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, including the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks, as set out in the Bali Action Plan. We continue to support REDD and will consider the inclusion of financial mechanisms within the future global agreement on climate change;
    Some environmentalists are concerned that "sustainable forest management" under the proposed "REDD Plus" approach will enable logging of old-growth forests.
  • c) encourage cooperation and the use of synergies between the UNFCCC and other international forest-related processes, and promote national strategies developed in collaboration with relevant players, including governments, indigenous peoples and local communities, civil society groups and the private sector;
  • d) enhance cooperation with partner countries to combat illegal logging and trade in illegally-harvested timber, in accordance with our obligations under international agreements and building on our previous commitments and actions, including those under the Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) processes. We reaffirm our intention to promote transparent timber markets and trade in legal and sustainably produced timber. In that regard, we will follow up, where appropriate, with concrete actions on the preliminary list of options presented in 2008 by the G8 Forest Experts Report on Illegal Logging;
  • e) reinforce international cooperation and information sharing for sustainable forest management, including use of forest resources, prevention and management of forest fires and monitoring of pests and diseases
The above issue raises a simple question. What can I as an individual do to save our forests and our precious wildlife.

What the individual can do

NGOs promote the role of the ordinary individual in conservation efforts.

Purchasing and consumption

Things you can do to help save rainforests

Don't buy products made from wildlife skins

Don't buy exotic pets that have been collected from the wild. You can ask pet stores whether animals are "wild-caught" or "captive bred." "Captive-bred" animals are more friendly for the environment

Buy recycled paper.

Don't buy wood products from Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil, or Africa unless you know they come from eco-friendly suppliers. A good way to know if wood is rainforest-safe is if it has a "certification label." An example of a certification label is "FSC-certified," which means the wood comes from sustainably managed forests. Learn more about rainforests and the plants and animals that live in them. Tell others why rainforests are important. People in developed countries stimulate the unsustainable harvesting of tropical timbers by demanding such wood products. Try to buy wood products that come from sustainably managed stocks (having a legitimate seal of approval) or non-rainforest woods.

Though not as much of a problem now, in the 1980s people in developed countries may have contributed indirectly to rainforest destruction by demanding cheap beef products (the "U.S.-Central American connection") and livestock feed (the "Europe-Southeast Asia connection") in the form of cassava grown on former forest lands. Be ecologically aware when you purchase products.

Support sustainably harvested forest products like nuts and natural dyes and the organizations that provide these goods. Without consumer demand, these products will not be supplied.

Always try to reduce power and water usage. Much of the electricity we use is fueled by the combustion of fossil fuels which add to global warming. Recycle and reuse as many materials as possible.

Information

Many conservation and consumer groups maintain that lack of information is one of the greatest hindrances to eco-friendly consumption. Stay informed and be aware of newly threatened areas and new developments in conservation methods, along with campaigns against forest destroyers. Numerous resources exist on the internet and in print.

Travel

If you have the ability to travel abroad, practice eco-tourism and support only environmentally friendly travel in areas that are environmentally sensitive. Just because a tour is advertised as "eco-tourism" it does not mean that it is environmentally sound. Ask around and try to find those operators who are legitimate. When traveling, try to be a responsible tourist and respect local customs.

Discourage the killing of endangered animals and rainforest species by refusing to buy products made up of or containing such parts. Gently remind locals that it is illegal to kill such animals and say that you would rather see the colorful macaws flying in the sky than having their feathers on your souvenir.

Action

Write to your government representatives and let them know how your feel about environmental issues. Express your concern for the future of tropical rainforests.

Join a biodiversity conservation group or rainforest organization and support campaigns and boycotts against companies responsible for reckless deforestation. If you resolve never to purchase goods from one of these firms, the company loses tens of thousands of dollars of potential revenue over the course of a life time.

The above material has been sourced entirely from Tropical Rainforest Conservation - mongabay.com

Last edited by DKG : 20th July 2009 at 15:52.
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Old 20th July 2009, 15:52   #2
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@DKG,

Thanks for starting this thread.

I hope, many Bhpians will join this campaign.
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Old 20th July 2009, 16:11   #3
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Good thread. There are many more things that an individual can do.
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Old 20th July 2009, 16:14   #4
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Default Do Not Litter the Forests with your garbage

Everytime you travel through a forest remember the food and garbage you throw out of your car can actually damage the environment you are passing through.

A few months back in response to discussions with Mr. Shankaran DFO Srisailam Forest I had the following paper bags made and printed with some simple do's and don'ts for travellers passing through the Srisailam Forest.

Saving our Forests : What the individual can do-picture-265.jpg

Whether the initiative lasts for long and is sustained is yet to be seen. But the message is clear. Everytime you travel through a forest, or for that matter any road journey, please carry a bag to collect your garbage and dispose appropriately.

Some of the dos and don't we printed on the bag were:

Taking precautions to guard against creating forest fires through carelessness

Avoiding polluting the sanctuary whether it be of air, water or the flora and fauna

Keeping a reasonable distance from wild animals. When provoked an animal may attack

Do not get out of your vehicle while watching wildlife

Animals have the right of way in a sanctuary. You are traversing through their territory

Dress in colours that blend into the forest environment.

Killing of animals is prohibited by law and may entail imprisonment. Firearms and pets are strictly forbidden

Use of horns, fast driving, smoking in summer, campfires, harassing wild animals and consumption of alcohol is prohibited

Stop only at designated rest areas. Access to the forest is restricted and unauthorised presence in non visitor areas is treated as tresspass and is an offence.
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Old 20th July 2009, 16:26   #5
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Default Ending trade in Tiger products

What countries consume products based on Tiger parts? How about a campaign to boycott products made by that country? Turning off the cash flow tap is the best way to get a country to clamp down on trade in tiger products.

Its common knowledge that Chinese traders deal in products made from Tiger parts. It may nmot be viable for the Indian government to ban Chinese goods as it becomes a major trade issue and can hurt Indian business in China. But as consumers we can start boycotting Chinese products and do so vocally so more and more people join in.

Perhaps an NGO can come out with ads/films urging people to boycott Chinese products as a tool in urging the Chinese people and government to not only end consumption of products made from Tiger parts but also to legislate the same as a felony in that country.

Come to think of it Mahatma Gandhi called for a boycott of English products as a way of negating the primary motive for the Brits to come into India, to create a market for their products.

Last edited by DKG : 20th July 2009 at 16:34.
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Old 20th July 2009, 16:45   #6
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How about getting something together for the Srisailam forest right away. Is there any thing we can do to get the cattle out and save the last wildlife in and around that region ?
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Old 20th July 2009, 16:49   #7
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Use internet banking when available to pay your bills.
Saves fuel and time.

And please don't take a printout of the receipt for backup.
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Old 20th July 2009, 16:50   #8
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Default Feeding wild animals

Over the years as I visit Srisailam I have noticed an alarming situation developing. Scores of monkeys have started to line the roads now in anticipation of food.

Vehicles passing through the forests have been throwing out food to animals, perhaps well intentioned but obviously ignorant, of the horrors of this practice.

First and foremost you upset the natural cycle of the animal needing to work hard to gather food. Inadvertently you encourage the animals to become lazy and we all know what laziness can do to one's health. Disease sets in and compromises the entire breed as genetically their become dependent on throwaways and lose their natural ability to hunt/gather for food and survive. You degrade an entire species genetically when you interfere in their natural way of living.

Feeding wild animals is not CUTE. Its downright STUPID and HARMFUL !!!

Often the food is thrown out in containers. Animals cannot differentiate between food and containers. So they tend to eat the food along with the container. Most packaging has print, which is chemicals. Imagine what it does to ones digestive system. Plastic is not meant to go into your intestines. Imagine what a choked intestine does to you.

Often people throw stale food out. Bacteria would have set in by then and surely its almost as good as pulling a gun out and shooting that animal when you feed it rotting food.

Animals that get diseased on account of such abuse invariably get eaten by other animals. Usually the predators at the top of the food chain are limited to a large region. One tiger dead on account of diseased food it eats means a couple of square kilometers loses a fundamental link in ecological balance. One tiger dead means the natural prey it feeds on multiply indiscriminately and over graze leading to the forest land from getting denuded through excessive soil erosion, which eventually kills the forest.

So everytime you throw that packet of food out to that CUTE animal, think about it. You just might be the trigger to wiping out a couple of square kilimeters of prime forest land.
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Old 20th July 2009, 16:58   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neoranjit View Post
How about getting something together for the Srisailam forest right away. Is there any thing we can do to get the cattle out and save the last wildlife in and around that region ?
You would need to address the requirement of cattle herdsmen for food for their cattle. A group of corporates can purchase and cultivate land for fodder for these animals. Slowly you can involve the herdsmen into the cultivation themselves.

Further, veterinary help for these cattle to ensure they are free of disease.

Also basic animal husbandry to help the cattle herdsmen improve their cattle stock, improve the cattle's productivity and improve the livelihood/earning power of the herdsmen.

You need to win the support of the people who live in and around the forests.

Its not about kicking people out of the forests. Its not about erecting electric fences to keep catle out. Those tribes have lived there for millenia. Its their home as much as the tiger's. By participation in the social/economic upliftment of the tribals we can slowly earn their respect and support in helping conserve forests.

Another call of the hour is the need for more biogas plants so tribals are weaned away from dependence on fossil fuels.

Last edited by DKG : 20th July 2009 at 17:03.
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Old 20th July 2009, 19:03   #10
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yeah DKG, and this cant be done overnight. Has to be done with complete cooperation of the forest officers and time consuming. But has to start somewhere.
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Old 20th July 2009, 20:43   #11
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excellent work there DKG! way to go man!
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Old 21st July 2009, 00:07   #12
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Deepak,
Excellent suggestions!
The monkeys you mention on the highway were caught in the city released in Srisialam, they are not the shy kind and have severely attacked people numerous times, who have stopped their cars and fed them .
Hundreds of spotted deer from deer park at Vanastalipuram released there near Farahabad did not survive as they could not adapt.
It is not the cattle there that have endangered the forest, 6-8 lakh cattle migrate from other districts and also from Maharashtra for a 8 month grazing camp. This inflow has to stop first, only then can we manage volume of cultivated fodder and cater to the needs of the local cattle population, which is in mere thousands.
Like you rightly mentioned, A forest which has tigers is considered a healthy forest. A tiger being on top of the food pyramid helps in keeping the population of resident herbivores in control, absence of a Tiger means population explosion resulting in overgrazing and finally death of the forest.
Maintaining the food chain is very very important to keep the forest alive.
Anyways, over grazing is taking place at NSTR. Not by resident herbivores but many thousand fold more, BY CATTLE.

neoranjit,yeah DKG, and this cant be done overnight. Has to be done with complete cooperation of the forest officers and time consuming. But has to start somewhere.

Cooperation of the forest officer is the most difficult part in this exercise, of course there are a very few exceptions. They totally the lack the will and initiative.

The story goes like this:
Cattle consume the forest, resident herbivores do not stand a chance in competing and so drops their reproduction rate, cattle reproduction increases many fold and also their adult head count, resident herbivores which make up the natural diet of the tiger diminishing rapidly, tiger starts to prey on cattle to survive, herdsmen's bitterness at loss and dissent follows, forest department's slow and procedural compensation to cattle owner adds fuel t
o fire, cattle herdsmen poison tiger as revenge killing and to save future killings, one more tiger dies of poisoning if not by poachers.
End result of this Man- Animal conflict? Tiger heading for excitation at breakneck speed, ensuing a chain reaction of degradation and deforestation by over grazing even if we discount the deforestation by man.

Deepak, The printed paper bag was indeed a very innovative start, apart from the corporates, the real difference would be if the command came from Delhi. Here, in the government there is no one who is in command regarding this department and the ones who can make a difference have their interest elsewhere. Vote bank plays a big role and will be continue to be a deciding factor in years to come, much more than today. So, it is politicians fighting for their survival and the Tiger's is nowhere on their list. Through out India.
Only the judiciary can make a difference.
Regards,

Last edited by fazalaliadil : 21st July 2009 at 00:13. Reason: grammar, of course.
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Old 21st July 2009, 00:55   #13
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@fazalaliadil : so, if the NGO , you mentioned earlier that you wanted to go ahead with, gets up and sends petitions to the ministry, do you think they will act ? Or, if we gather more and more people , do you think someone will take notice and act ?

Like you said, we have to wake up and do. Lets do it now .
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Old 21st July 2009, 07:09   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neoranjit View Post
@fazalaliadil : so, if the NGO , you mentioned earlier that you wanted to go ahead with, gets up and sends petitions to the ministry, do you think they will act ? Or, if we gather more and more people , do you think someone will take notice and act ?

Like you said, we have to wake up and do. Lets do it now .
Ranjit,
NGO, NGI, press, television, petetions in court, awareness campaign, involvement of like minded people and other mediums are what you should go on at, as you know it will take some time for you to get established and be heard.
When it comes to the forest department it is like trying to wake up the dead, they know all that is happening before you do, but will feign ignorance.
Concentrate on making the citizens aware, get school children involved, rekindle their interest by workshops, jungle field trips etc.
Oh yes! Gather people who are hard to ignore, people in numbers, celeberities, social activists, powerful politicians and so on.
Results will follow, for sure.
Regards,
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Old 21st July 2009, 08:04   #15
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A wonderful thread and it is important that we all start in our own little way to make difference. It is important not to let these amazing wildlife perish from the face of this earth.

In order to make difference, I feel we need to start from grass-root level and also go after the who's who as Fazal has said. These celebrities will give the required media attention and that would give a wider coverage to the campaign.
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