Sunday, May 21, 2006

The international debate over use vs. preservation ...

[Global Saturday]

   It's happening all over the world -- While environmentalists implore third world nations to preserve their natural resources, governments and local residents see quick profits from using the land to extract minerals, timber, and water, and start up intensive agriculture.   

   The Washington Post today prints an fascinating piece about the Papuan region of Indonesia, where the government has shut down the logging of tropical forests. The story is not simply good versus evil.  On the one hand, local farmers have for centuries cut down some trees for subsistence and today complain of lost income; on the other hand, much of the recent logging has been done for international timber operations that illegally ship the wood out of the country.  Matters are further muddled by changing national policies and conflicts between national and regional authorities.  And the environmentalists' preferred win-win solution of ecotourism is not likely to help the Papuans ...

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