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Asean Affairs  24  January 2011

Forests continue at risk

By  David Swartzentruber

AseanAffairs     24 January 2011

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The futuristic 1973 film, “Soylent Green,” had a scene shot in a facility titled, “The Tree Museum” and so every time a story appears about declining forest, that scene comes to mind. The trees in the museum were raised in an artificial environment because they could no longer grow in the degraded climate. Is that what the world is headed for?

The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) has published a report that efforts to save forests are falling short “because they do not attack the core causes such as growing demand for biofuels and food crops.”

Sixty experts authored the report and concluded that overemphasis is being placed on forests as a store for carbon dioxide rather than preventing deforestation for agriculture and energy purposes. The experts also criticized the latest UN initiative, Reducing Deforestation in Developing countries, as inadequate because it proposes a single solution rather than a multilateral approach.

The report supports more support for local and regional efforts such as Asean’s development of a regional standard for monitoring illegal logging and a special system for forest-related research.

News laws have also been adopted to thwart the sale of illegal timber in the US and Europe and Brazil has enacted news to thwart further destruction of its rain forests.

The report calls for a multisector approach to address the impact of global consumption, including growing demand for food and biofuels, and problems of land scarcity.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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