Breakfast of Biodiversity

On a scale of 1 – 10 I would give this book a 6. Its not a very interesting book. Much like a history book of the rain forest. The authors had quite a few good ideas and presented their information quite well, But it just wasn’t a topic I found as interesting. I would have to say the first half of the book had more eye-opening information.

The first interesting part is found in the first few pages of the book. The authors spit out the six stage process that the big companies that cut down the forest go through with their business. Im not going to list it out you can see it for yourself on page 4. But I find it very interesting to see how easy it is for people with the right mind set to make up a blueprint that shows the steps the result in the destruction of the rain forest.  It seems to me that when you can generalize theses sorts of things you should also be able to find out what step would be easiest to stop this cycle.

It pretty much comes down to this. When a big business that needs land uses up all the resources in its area it picks up and leaves the area and forces all of its employees to stay and try and live off the barren land. When they cant they must cut down more forest to survive. As long as huge companies like Chiquita bananas continues to do this the rain forest will have no chance. Unless they can find some way to begin to re use nutrients in the soils of the rain forest.

The authors have given a few examples of ways that nutrients can be saved from leaking out of the soil. My favorite is on page 49. The idea is simple. Dig trenches next to plots of farm land. put water plants in the trenches that will absorb the nutrients. At the end of the season fertilize the land with the water plants. Its thinking like this that is going to be able to make constructive change and help save the rain forest in the future.

My final more enjoyable part of the book is when he discusses how useless most reforestation attempts are. The is the second book that we have read that points out that many of our attempts to fix the problems we have caused have actually made the problems worse. The authors talk about how little we know about how the rain forest works. We have no idea what kinds of trees we should be planting and how we should leave the environment. The best way to fix things is to just let the forest take over the land again. The only problem is that the forest never gets a chance to grow back. We just keep cutting more down.

In the end the authors deduce that the best way fro us to conserve the rain forest is to reduce farming to those few parts of land that do have good nutrient rich soil and either make tree farms out of the rest of the cut down woods for logging or just let it re grow naturally. I would agree. We are going to use up all of our resources some day. And we are going to have no idea what to do.

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