If a tree falls in the middle of a forest and no one is around to hear it does it make a sound? Well the international community is certainly not there to hear the falling of a tree from deforestation. Many transnational corporations, governments, and local consumers demand many resources from tropical forests, but no one is around to hear it. Except maybe for  indigenous populations who are sometimes displaced from their lands by developers and ranchers. The conversion of forests into agricultural land by slash and burn agriculture is the largest contributor to deforestation. Brazil and Indonesia are the countries with the largest amounts of deforestation as is shown below. Compromises can and need to be reached to stop this destruction.  For example, social and ecological objectives have been joined in the past to form nature reserves in Brazil. However, there needs to be beter management practices in place in all of these countries. Fortunately, there is an opportunity to achieve green house gas emissions reductions through deforestation reductions. These are detailed in the Eliasch Review. The conference in Copenhagen in December is a critical juncture where deforestation prevention and reduction could be incorporated  into international law. Unfortunatley, it has not recieved enough attension and needs to play a larger role in the process.

An Opportunity:

In October, a memorandum was drafted to the federal governments of Brazil, Indonesia, and the United States to commit to prioritizing deforestation in the Kyoto 2 conference in Copenhagen in December. The New York Times article, Leaders from Indonesia, Brazil Join 3 U.S. States in Deforestation Accord outlines how the agreement focuses on trying to increase financial mechanisms towards deforestation reduction and developing forestry programs in all three countries. This is an important initiative that needs to receive more attention within the US. There needs for more forest managment within these two countries, because they clearly are the largest global contributers to tropical deforestation as pictured above.

Will the international community and the governments of these countries be present to hear the sound? Will they be around to stop the trees from falling?

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