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Global trade and urbanisation stripping forest cover -Study


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A new study has concluded that the growth of cities and global trade has led to extensive tropical deforestation.

Ruth DeFries, professor at the Earth Institute's Centre for Environmental Research and Conservation, and her colleagues analysed remote-sensing images of forest cover across 41 nations in Latin America, Africa and Asia from 2000 to 2005, and combined these with population and economic trends.

They showed that the highest forest losses were correlated with two factors: urban growth within countries; and, mainly in Asia, growth of agricultural exports to other countries. Rural population growth was not related.

The observations starkly reverse assumptions by some scientists that fast-growing urbanisation and the efficiencies of global trade might eventually slow or reverse tropical deforestation.

'The main drivers of tropical deforestation have shifted from small-scale landholders to domestic and international markets that are distant from the forests,' said DeFries, who led the study.

The other study co-authors were Columbia University ecologist Maria Uriarte; ecologist Thomas Rudel of Rutgers University; and Matthew Hansen of South Dakota State University, said an Earth Institute release.

The study appeared in this week's early edition of Nature Geoscience.

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The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

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An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

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