Re: The 6' th Extinction

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Re: The 6' th Extinction
From: (Glen Ingram)
Date: Sun, 8 Jun 1997 02:15:40 +1000
I'm afraid I agree with Niels. Kindly, however, he forgot to tell us that
we still have to KEEP on fighting EVEN to just achieve the figures of doom
he calculates. If we don't,,,,it is only going to be worse!?

It is just not a problem of population growth and first-world consumerism
(do not stop doing your bit, though). If any of you have been following the
Akagera NP, Rwanda, discussion on SABirdNet (and it will hit the Sydney
Morning Herald and the Age through twitcher 704 soon: it was a CMF birding
spot), you will see an old story of imperialism: to the victor the spoils.
NOT a first-world-conservation-ethic vs third-world-being-denied-succour
conflict. In other places, it is just like Niels says: straight corruption
with the most strident third-world critics of conservation being the main
financial beneficiary of the land-uses being criticized, their people
rarely seeing the money but certainly understanding what `displaced' means.

 Another thing Niels didn't tell us. Even with habitat protection, we
are seeing something that is happening for which there is no name. I will
try to get at it hermeneutically: They talk about the Global Village: this
is a natural equivalent: we have to talk about a Global Forest: and
pan-disease. But what ever it is called, we need conservation
veterinarians. Non-endemic diseases can arrive and run through native
animals and plants of excellently preserved habitats. Look at Oz and CA 
frogs (and many of us are also frogwatchers - a peculiar Australian birder
trait) - six or seven species: POOF: gone from disturbed and pristine
habitats: 15 years and not a by-your leave. I still cannot believe I saw
it happen. What does the frog god want?

However, it is not doom, really: it is reality, doomly. And if you have
the conservation gene, as most of us have, you got to keep on battling
habitat loss. I know the task it is part of my lot, I'll not complain and
I'll actively seek out others, and their money, to enjoin the battle. So
better you.

But still do what Niels says: you ARE the last generation to see. Go for
so you can tell other people's grandchildren what these creatures were like
when they once roamed the Earth. But also be a bonny fighter, have the
smarts and claws, and seriously contend the opposition. Or the extants will
be very few indeed.

Please, no one get me onto meat-profiteering and poaching along
logging-tracks in Western Africa and the demise of the Drill and Mandrill.

Glen J. Ingram
Brisbane, Australia.

"I am going to give my psychoanalyst one more year, then I am going to
Lourdes"  Woody Allen.
> From: Niels Poul Dreyer <>
> To: Keith Martin <>
> Cc: Birding Aus <>
> Subject: Re: The 6' th Extinction
> Date: Saturday, 7 June 1997 21:08
> In reply to Keith response.
> Of course I try to make a contribution to conservation through my support
> 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
> deforestation rate per year for each new decade. The main reason is
> commercial predation logging by 12 major (mainly asian) companies. After
> fall of communism new hunting areas for unscrupulous logging interests in
> former socialist countries  are Russia, Suriname, Laos, Bolivia,
> Burma, Cambodia.  PNG has been evaded by one Malaysian operator under
> different names which has acquired access through bribes to almost half
> the lowland forests in that country for almost nothing.  We are not
> about linear environmental destruction but exponential growth in
> of the most diverse ecosystem in the world. I arrived at my  prediction
> mega extinction of birds in 15-20 years time from extrapolating
> rates in an exponential function model. There are about 4-6 mio km2
> left in the tropics. Consequently it will only take 20 years to destroy
> 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"
> spot on.  David Suzuki & Paul Erlich believe we have reached a point of
> 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
> AUs birding to go into more detail about economics. This is after all a
> chat affair. Fellow birders, do not wait too long if you want to see
> birds! Ben King, Andrew Whittaker, Robert Ridgley, Field Guides, Bird
> and may others agree with me. If you are interested I can give references
> 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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