Sunday, March 18, 2007

 

Human Behaviour drives Conservation

Recent studies of vegetation patterns, based on detailed satellite images and on-the-ground inventories of trees, have found that the African nation, Niger, a place of persistent hunger and deprivation, has recently added millions of new trees and is now far greener than it was 30 years ago. These gains, moreover, have come at a time when the population of Niger has exploded, confounding the conventional wisdom that population growth leads to the loss of trees and accelerates land degradation. Today, the success in growing new trees suggests the harm to much of the Sahel may not have been permanent, but a temporary loss of fertility. The evidence, scientists say, demonstrates how relatively small changes in human behaviour can transform the regional ecology, restoring its biodiversity and productivity.

Lydia Polgreen, Melbourne Age

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