Re: The 6' th Extinction

To: "Keith Martin" <>
Subject: Re: The 6' th Extinction
From: Niels Poul Dreyer <>
Date: Sat, 7 Jun 1997 21:08:03 +1000 (EST)
In reply to Keith response.

Of course I try to make a contribution to conservation through my support of
Birldlife and others. Additionally I have written letters to authorities
about protecting important birding areas I have visited. However I am not
naive and perhaps cynical. The statistics talk:

Yearly Global Deforestation Rates of rainforest from:

1970-1980 was 70.000 km2 per year
1980-1990 was 120,000 km2 per year
1990-1997 was 175.000 km2 per year

Source: World Bank Annual reports

As the figures show we are witnessing more than 50 percent increase in the
deforestation rate per year for each new decade. The main reason is
commercial predation logging by 12 major (mainly asian) companies. After the
fall of communism new hunting areas for unscrupulous logging interests in
former socialist countries  are Russia, Suriname, Laos, Bolivia, Cameroon,
Burma, Cambodia.  PNG has been evaded by one Malaysian operator under
different names which has acquired access through bribes to almost half of
the lowland forests in that country for almost nothing.  We are not talking
about linear environmental destruction but exponential growth in depletion
of the most diverse ecosystem in the world. I arrived at my  prediction of
mega extinction of birds in 15-20 years time from extrapolating destruction
rates in an exponential function model. There are about 4-6 mio km2 forest
left in the tropics. Consequently it will only take 20 years to destroy all
remaining lowland forests in the world. Given the exponential growth in
corruption and greed it is more than likely to happen on schedule. The
predictions made by the Club of the Rome in the book "Limits to Growth" are
spot on.  David Suzuki & Paul Erlich believe we have reached a point of no
return. I have not met one single profesional conservationist who are
optimistic about the fate of our wildlife.

 It is of couse very unfortunate to make a such gloomy forcast, but our
leaders especially in the third world have a personal vested interest in
supporting unsustainable depletion of resources. Mobuto, Marcos, Suharto,
Julius Chan are good examples of such leaders. Additionally, our economic
system also favours extinction of species. It is however beyond the scope of
AUs birding to go into more detail about economics. This is after all a bird
chat affair. Fellow birders, do not wait too long if you want to see those
birds! Ben King, Andrew Whittaker, Robert Ridgley, Field Guides, Bird Quest
and may others agree with me. If you are interested I can give references to
some very interesting articles and books to read. I strongly recommend
reading Richard Leakey's book THE SEXTH EXTINCTION.

Regards from Niels Dreyer
>Of course you are correct to be concerned about developments and the
>threats to special places like Taman Negara, but there is still time to
>try to and save some parts of the world. Taman Negara is for example
>still a National Park - this does not make it entirely protected, but
>it is a start. If the Malaysian government can be persuaded to
>eventually invest the tourist dollar in environmental protection then
>that would be a good thing. I'm not sure running around "seeing the
>world" does very much to address these problems, and may even be
>contributing to them!! The more tourists that visit places.. the more
>facilities will be provided for them (and that includes you!) But I
>hope this does not sound like a flame - all I suggest is a more
>positive outlook... 

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