CASE STUDIES

Tropical Rainforests – Papua New Guinea & Deciduous Forests – Epping Forest

Tropical Rainforests – Papua New Guinea & Deciduous Forests – Epping Forest

Papua New Guinea

Large areas of tropical rainforest are being cut down, which has economic, social, political and environmental repercussions.

The Indonesian island of Papua New Guinea (PNG) contains some of the largest rain forests in the world. The indigenous people of the area have lived there for many thousands of years and many of the plants and animals in the forests are found nowhere else on earth. However, PNG is a relatively poor, developing nation and generates wealth for its people by cutting down trees to sell as timber. Huge areas of forest have been cut down, displacing not only animals and precious plants but also the people who live in the area. The timber companies make a lot of money but little is passed on to the local people.

International co-operation is needed if tropical rainforests are to be managed sustainably. Ways in which the international community is trying to prevent unlicensed and unsustainable logging include:

* Providing financial aid to Indonesia so they won’t need the income from timber.

* Monitoring exports from the island to ensure certain trees aren’t being cut down.

* Encouraging the sale of sustainable products which can be produced without destroying the forest.

* Raising awareness a

bout the importance of the forest.

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Case study: Epping Forest

Deciduous forests perform a variety of roles. They are balanced environments which support many plants and animals; without the forest these would be under threat. They provide wood and are also used for tourism. Deciduous forests must be well-managed so these different needs don’t have a negative impact on each other. Just outside London, Epping Forest is an ancient woodland owned by the City of London Corporation. Popular with day-trippers from the city, it includes 60 football pitches, a golf course and camping facilities. However, the forest is also home to a huge variety of wildlife and is a site of special scientific interest. This means the forest must be managed carefully.

In order to preserve the natural balance of the woodland, dead wood is left to rot, to encourage fungi; trees are cut back (a process known as ‘pollarding’) to encourage growth; and some areas are regularly closed to the public to reduce damage to the woods.