Millions of Acres

Humanity in all its glory and growth has been gnawing away at the forests of the world for millennia. Ireland and Lebanon lost their forests to shipbuilding. Mexico lost much of its timber to gold and silver mining and grazing. Europe and Asia have been cut and re-grown several times for grain and grazing.

The exact acreage of land available for reforestation is difficult to quantify. Reports on these environmental issues are subject to the agendas of those preparing the reports. The so-called ‘tree huggers’ are believed to exaggerate the numbers. Governments suspected of being responsible for the continuing trend of forest loss are believed to minimize the numbers. UN reports are divided into a multitude of categories and I ran out of time to pull them together.

Conservation International ( reports that 35.1 million acres of tropical rainforest are lost each year. That does not include forests lost in the rest of the world, north and south of the tropics. Unchecked deforestation of the tropics has been newsworthy for 2 decades now. In that time, approximately 700 million acres of tropical forest have been lost, not to mention the temperate zones.

The most important point in these studies of deforestation, regardless of their accuracy, is that conditions are not getting substantially better. Every year that passes just means that there are even more acres available (desperate) for restoration. The dilemma is deciding where to start.

Mexico and the Caribbean are rapidly deteriorating. Latin America is sliding into muddy oblivion. South America is hiding behind a haze of smoke. They are a good place to start. What goes around comes around. Improvements in the Western Hemisphere circulate with improving health and lend support to all the restoration efforts around the world.