Ensuring Our Future Through Conservation
The world’s natural rainforests are one of humanity’s only remaining hopes to continue its existence. Rainforests are vast forests filled with lush vegetation, teeming with life (both animal and plant), of which only about 40 percent has been completely discovered and studied. Rainforests are a beautiful place that can only be properly described by the scientist/naturalist, Charles Darwin when he said “Delight…is a weak term to express the feelings of a naturalist, who for the first time, has wandered by himself in a Brazilian forest” (qtd Collins 53). The rainforests of today are somewhat similar to the rainforests of the past.
The rainforests of today still contain all of the same vegetation, animal life, and animal species as they did in the past. However, the size of theses majestic rainforests has diminished immensely over a course of about 100 years. Recent studies and estimates conclude that around two percent of the world’s rainforests is lost each year. Unless we change this amount of deforestation, there will be little of our rainforests left in 50 years. Our rainforests are an integral part in our world’s ecosystem, and therefore need to be conserved as best we can.
The rainforests provide safety and life to millions of kinds of life, they may contain cures to many of the world’s diseases, and they provide over 60 percent of the world’s supply oxygen to humans and other animals. Destroying these beautiful and key parts of the world would be catastrophic to mankind. There are many ways in which we can conserve our natural rainforests, and thus partly ensure our survival on earth. Two of these ways are through education of mankind on just how much we need the rainforests and what they can do to save them and through mass reforestation.
Without a complete understanding of the problems facing the planet in terms of its environment, mankind is not going to last for long. People must understand why they should recycle, how they can reduce air pollution, what they can do to lessen their own individual destruction of the earth. It is also important that environmental education be correct and must relate to the person doing the learning. In order for environmental education to be effective, it must be both comprehensible and applicable to the learner.
Such awareness may be the only option that exists that can make a difference in saving and renewing the earth’s diminishing natural rainforests. Such education must be fully taught so that the student can understand the inter-relatedness of all aspects of the environment, including his or her role in it. Once a person understands that all life on earth, not just human life, is dependent on the environment, it is no longer possible to dismiss the planet simply somewhere to live for humans to treat as they will. The best time to begin such environmental education and awareness is with children.
Children must begin to learn at an early age that respect for the earth and its environment and all of its inhabitants is a necessary part of life. Each person must understand the consequences of his or her actions on the environment. Beginning in the first years of school, children should be taught the processes of life on this planet. Environmental education can truly make a difference and is the most valuable schooling for the future. Reforestation began in Ontario after World War II. What happened was, professional foresters were assigned to an area and became responsible for its well being.
Under the Crown Timber Act, long term management was prepared. Then the many steps needed to rebuild a forest began. There are many methods for planning a forest. The simplest method of replanting a forest is to leave it to nature. Reducing competition by eliminating grass, weed or shrubs is another requirement in ensuring a new crop of trees. These will sprout to produce seedlings. Though the weeds were eliminated before, they still grow back, and because of this, poor quality trees will grow. Another method though, is to create a planned forest, where new conifers are grown from seed in a special nursery.
Seeding is a reforestation technique used mainly in the Boreal forest area where fire or logging tends to leave no or very little seeds for growth” (Postel 115). In many cases, planting is the only means of creating a new forest. “Up to 80,000,000 trees are planted annually in Ontario on Crown and private land” (Gradwohl 46). Usually immature forests have to be tended to. Once situated, a new crop needs more care for the next 60 to 100 years. This means continuing protection from fires, disease and insects and routine thinning to focus the growth on selected crop trees.
Before a forest can be grown, certain procedures must first occur. Collecting and processing seeds is one of them. Tree flowers fertilized by blowing winds generate seed, in a time within 1 to 2 years. We must remember that forests do not grow as easily as they used to because of fires and other disasters. This is why many forests are planned, and cared for. Most of us will never now how they turn out because for a forest to completely grow, it needs anywhere from 60 to 100 years or more. There are many reasons why we should have reforestation. One being mostly that we need forest to live.
The world’s natural rainforests are a resource that must be conserved. These integral part of our lives are a larger part of us than we may think and humans should be educated of this fact. We need to rebuild our rainforests and stop people from continually destroying them. As the singer, Dave Matthews said when speaking about the rainforests, “Maybe we should start assassinating the people who are chopping down all the trees…I mean, we’re a dime-a-dozen anyway! ” I don’t think that mankind needs to resort to such extreme measures, but we do need to begin halting the deforestation activities that are currently being done.