Prince Charles and the Rainforest Fund: Protecting African ecosystem by swapping debt

by Emeka Chiakwelu

Prince Charles of Wales a longtime advocate of rainforest protection has taken pragmatic steps by setting up an emergency rainforest fund with thirty five countries. The targeted goal is to put in $22 billion to up to $36 billion in the fund to save rainforest and reduce the raging deforestation rate especially in the poor countries.

This is a noble project and deserves the attention it received. The task of protecting rainforest cannot be left to poor countries in the southern hemisphere that lack the means and resources to stop the cutting down of tress. In the tropical rainforest the forest have become source of energy for domestic consumption. Tresses are cut down to be used as fire woods for cooking, medicine and nutrition. While governments cut down tresses for export in order to generate foreign currency.

This fund can play a vital role to save the Africa’s ecosystem but Prince Charles and the fund managers have to be creative in disbursing the money. African debt cancellation can become the tool to save the forest in the region. The Rainforest Fund can promise and implement debt reduction scheme: Outright debt cancellation when African countries are willing to implement the requisite criteria to save the forest. Simply swapping debt for forest protection can help to curtail rate of deforestation in Africa.

“In Africa today, tropical forests and rangelands are under threat from population pressures and systems of land use. Generally apparent effects of these threats include loss of biodiversity, rapid deterioration in land cover, and depletion of water availability through destruction of catchments and aquifers. Changes in climate will interact with these underlying changes in the environment, adding further stresses to a deteriorating situation. A sustained increase in mean ambient temperatures beyond 1EC would cause significant changes in forest and rangeland cover; species distribution, composition, and migration patterns; and biome distribution.”

In this trouble time of global warming and climate change, forest can aid in the reduction of carbon dioxide, the culpable greenhouse emission gas that contributes to global warming. During photosynthesis which is the process for plant to manufacture food, the carbon dioxide is taken in and oxygen is given out. Therefore the excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can be reduced and global warming can be controlled. It is important to save the forest and have enough of it to make an impact on the reduction of carbon dioxide and global warming.

The 25% goal of reducing the destruction of tropical rainforest by 2015 is plausible when African forest is protected because “deforestation is responsible for almost 20% of global carbon emission.”

Task of contributing such a large amount of money for the Rainforest Fund can be difficult with the global economic recession but it is imperative that destructive effects of global warming must be slowed down before it becomes irreversible and irrecoverable.

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1 comment

Lord Frederick Crump January 3, 2015 - 11:08 pm

My name is Frederick Crump
Have written many times to HRH Prince Charles
Very Concerned about deforestation


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