the dollar value of wood that is not sustainably harvestedâ€¦ Almost half of the world total (46%) occurs in India, where the annual timber depletion exceeds that of the next 25 countries combined, although the population of India is also almost as large as the combined population of those 25 other territories. [Link]
The second is a map of poverty around the world, in terms of the number of people living under $2/day
- India has a lot of people, which is part of why it’s on both of these maps. Note, however, that India is far larger than China on both, so sheer population alone doesn’t explain what we’re seeing
- Poor people will cut down trees. If you want a greener world, maybe you need to increase the green in people’s pockets.
- Sadly for the poor, cutting down trees will hurt them in the long term, like eating your seed corn. Forests protect land from erosion, increase the quantity and quality of water resources and decrease landslides [Link]. Unfortunately, overharvesting is a prisoner’s dilemma where overexploitation is individually beneficial but collectively detrimental. You need good governance to overcome a problem like this because of all the externalities involved.
It’s not going to be an easy problem to solve, but since the first world has an interest in third world forests soaking up their carbon emissions, perhaps it can be part of the solution.