Amazon Rain Forests - NY Post

Michael Gochfeld gochfeld at
Thu Jun 8 13:58:20 EDT 2000

Like so many conservation issues, both sides can be right and wrong.
I've flown over huge areas of rain forest, and indeed there is a lot of
it left. It's also true that it is being cut down or otherwise degraded
at a rapid rate. Moreover roads isolate islands of forest, so that loss
of populations (or species) may occur at a disproportionate rate. 

But perhaps an overlooked point is that there isn't a single tropical
Amazonian forest. It is a complex entity divided by many river systems,
with many species isolated to small areas of the forest.  Even birds can
be separated by a river that is only moderately wide.  

So one should read news articles (often out of context) with caution.
Since I didn't recognize the names of the two "world's top
eco-scientists" I wonder if others were familiar with their work.  While
many of the statements in the article may be true the generalization
need not be.  Moreover, rain forests on other continents are in much
worse shape than the South American, with respect to fragmentation.

Besides I think it's exciting that superstars and teen-agers are
interested in protecting the environment, even if rain forest isn't the
world's leading environmental cvoncern.  [Carl Safina of National
Audubon, suggests that we ought to be devoting as much attention to the
marine fish and fisheries as to the rain forests and forestry.  His book
on Song for a Blue Ocean makes that point all too clearly. Marine
conservationists have become second class citizens. 

M. Gochfeld

> Chris Hocking
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