Selected Case Studies from the Americas
Edited by Mohammed H.I. Dore and Rubén Guevara
Mohammed Dore and Rubén Guevara Within the last two decades of the 1900s, it has become clear that forests are not just timber, waiting to be cut down. Ecologists have succeeded in informing others that the forests have other vital ecological functions, such as helping regulate the hydrological cycle, the nutrient cycle and the carbon cycle. Forests also help preserve the soil from being eroded away; forests are repositories of biodiversity and, as part of the hydrological cycle, they also prevent ﬂooding. It is now fashionable for economists to refer to these ecological functions as non-marketed ‘environmental services’, which they attempt to value as if they were ordinary consumable goods and services. The international community too has at last recognized the problem of global warming and the latter has become the subject of a global accord, following the signing of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. The UN Framework Convention recognizes that the world’s forests will have an important role to play in implementing a global strategy for reining in the global emissions of carbon, which is the main factor in global warming. It is also appreciated that conservation and growth of the forests will ease other so-called ‘natural’ disasters, such as ﬂoods, hurricanes, and ice storms. Indeed, one fear is that, with global warming and the possible intensiﬁcation of the activity of El Niño, the severity and frequency of these disasters may be on the increase. While not all the...