Research and Media Network

Bringing people together to improve communication of research findings

Deforestation is part of a global process of the 'browning' of the Earth. A recent satellite survey conducted by FAO reveals 24 per cent of the Earth's and surface is seriously degraded by vegetation loss, and that we are losing vegetation (including forests) at a rate of 1 per cent per annum. At such a rate half the world's land will be desertified by 2035 - and to feed the swelling population by existing means there will be few alternatives other than to cut down much of the remaining forest, eg in Brazil and central Africa. Asia in particular is in severe danger of destroying its remaining forests and arable land, given the recent boom in consumption. With the expected increase in drought, flooding and storm intensity, soil erosion and dust storms can be expected to rise to their worst state, probably, since plant life colonised the land 400my ago.These factors indicate modern civilisation is on a course which is totally unsustainable in food terms alone. To save the world's remaining forests (now about 40% of what existed prior to the axe) we need to develop an entirely new food systems that does not depend on large acreages of land, vast columes of water or huge amounts of fast-depleting fossil energy. I discuss this in 'The Coming Famine'. I urge members of R&MN to discuss it also. Time is running out.

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