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Deforestation Wont Happen: 2-5 Turn Deforestation Good Economy/Food: 6 Turn Deforestation Good Economics: 7 Turn Deforestation Causes Global Cooling: 8 AT Deforestation Causes Flooding: 10-11 AT Deforestation - Exaggerated: 12 AT Deforestation - Biodiversity Loss: 13-14

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A2: Deforestation (1/4)

Theres no threat to rainforests.
Michael Lind, (Policy director of the New America Foundation's Economic Growth Program), Mar/Apr 11, Foreign Policy, So Long, Chicken Little, 4. The rain forests are about to disappear. This is yet another case of exaggeration in defense of a good cause. Remember the 1980s, when it seemed the Amazon rain forest wasn't long for this world -- and that humanity was threatened as atmospheric oxygen levels correspondingly declined? The World Wildlife Fund's Thomas Lovejoy in 1980 predicted 50 percent deforestation in Latin America by 2000. And Al Gore famously claimed in Earth in the Balance that rain forests "are disappearing from the face of the earth at the rate of one and a half acres a second, night and day, every day, all year round." But as the New York Times reported in 2009, "new 'secondary' forests are emerging in Latin America, Asia and other tropical regions at such a fast pace that the trend has set off a serious debate about whether saving primeval rain forest -- an iconic environmental cause -- may be less urgent than once thought." For every acre of rain forest chopped down annually, more than 50 acres are growing back on previously ravaged tropical land, according to one estimate. Meanwhile, thanks to advanced agricultural technology that permits more food to be grown on fewer acres, Northern Hemisphere countries like the United States, Canada, and the nations of Europe are being regreened rapidly, as former farmland returns to forest.

Deforestation is being solved now

Julie McCarthy, July 9 2007, Unlikely Allies Battle Deforestation in the Amazon, Foreign Correspondent South America,
Peabody recipient for coverage of Gulf War, was the foreign editor for Europe as well as Africa. She served as the Senior Washington Editor during the Persian Gulf War, ( php?storyId=11375220)

Guerrero, The Nature Conservancy's man in the field, says Cargill is persuading farmers that they have a choice: get legal or go broke. He says the Amazon is increasingly being pulled into a global market
that demands environmentally friendly products, which is, he says, the argument that Cargill is using. If the market decides not to buy anymore soy from the Amazon," Guerrero says, "[the farmers] will be affected by this reaction of the market. You know, if you lose the market, you lose everything," he says. As one of the biggest soy traders in Brazil, Cargill took an unprecedented step. At the urging of Greenpeace, which has tracked deforestation around Santarem, Cargill agreed to join a two-year moratorium on the purchase of any soy grown

on newly deforested areas. The action effectively removes the incentive for soy farmers to cut down trees. Cargills Lori Johnson says the company pushed to make the moratorium industry-wide "so that everyone who buys soy is taking the same stance. And that's ultimately what happened," says Johnson. "And one of the interesting things that came out of those
discussions is that it has brought together this kind of multi-stakeholder group. But Not Without a Fight Before Greenpeace and Cargill
started cooperating with each other, they fought bitterly over the company's giant port terminal in Santarem. From there the company ships hundreds of thousands of tons of soy down the Amazon to markets overseas. Greenpeace accused Cargill, one of the world's largest privately held companies, of being indirectly complicit in deforestation of the area. But the company argues that only a fraction of the soy it transports comes from Santarem, and that most of the land around the region was already cleared before Cargill arrived on the scene

Small farmers are now caught between the law and making their farms profitable. Many face the prospect of selling their land and leaving. Farmer Viteu Holzbach plants soy on 130 of his 260 hectres, cultivating about half the land. But under the long-standing 80:20 rule, he is only entitled to grow on a fifth of the property, or about 50 hectres. He must either return a big chunk of his farm to its natural state, or pay a large chunk to the government which would then set aside a legal reserve elsewhere. We feel oppressed. The NGO's call us criminals. But we don't want to
in 2003.

work outside of the law. We worked our whole lives honestly," Holzbach says. "And we came here after the forest had been cut down, and just took advantage of what we found. In the last two years Brazil's government says that the rate at which trees are being destroyed has slowed in the Amazon. Analysts credit declining soy prices which have led to a disincentive to plant. The Nature Conservancy's Guerrero credits groups like

Greenpeace and other conservationists who are on the frontlines in the struggle to save the rainforest. Because we are doing some work here to put some limits: addressing the problem, confronting the problem, and doing something."Guerrero expects to see more partnerships like the one

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between the Nature Conservancy and Cargill multiply as the battle continues over how to balance conservation in the Amazon with economic growth.

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A2: Deforestation (2/4)

Deforestation is declining National Geographic News, November 13 2006, Worlds Forests Rebounding , Study Suggests,
( Forests are branching out across the planet anew, raising hopes that an end to deforestation may be in sight, a new study claims. The study suggests that deforestation is not as drastic as it once was and that forests are recovering in many countries. The researchers say that over the past 15 years the amount of woodland has increased in 22 of the world's 50 most forested nations. China and the U.S. have achieved the greatest overall forest expansion, the team says, while tree cover has spread fastest in China, Vietnam, and Spain. Asia as a whole is shown to have gained 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares) of forest between 2000 and 2005. "Earth has suffered an epidemic of deforestation," said co-researcher Jesse Ausubel, from Rockefeller University in New York City. "Now humans may help spread an epidemic of forest restoration." Ausubel said the trend identified in the study could "stop the styling of a skinhead Earth" and lead to a 10 percent increase in global forest coveran area the size of Indiaby 2050.

Developing nations are expanding their forests National Geographic News, November 13 2006, Worlds Forests Rebounding , Study Suggests,
( This encouraging picture of global forest growth comes from an international research team that studied data from a 2005 forest-resources assessment by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The team advocates "a more sophisticated approach" to measuring forest cover. This approach takes into account tree density as well as overall tree cover to reveal a country's total forest resources, the team says. In Japan, for instance, tree cover is shown to be virtually unchanged
since World War II, but tree density has risen, producing an average annual 1.6 percent increase in forest biomass. Lead author Pekka Kauppi of the University of Helsinki, Finland, admits that the study does not distinguish between planted, homogenous tree stands and biologically richer old-growth forests. However, he says, much of the recorded increase involves both

natural regeneration and the effects of reforestation programs, particularly in developing nations. The study notes, for example, that tropical forest in El Salvador expanded more than 20 percent between 1992 and 2001. Reforestation efforts in China have contributed to a 116-million-acre (47-million-hectare) increase in forest area since the 1970s, the study adds. Increased human migration from rural to urban areas and higher agricultural yields may also have aided regeneration, the authors say. Similar factors may have helped in India, where forest cover was found to have increased since 1990. The team says forest trends in these and other developing countries may be mirroring those seen in the past in industrialized Western nations. In the U.S., for instance, forests in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania,
Ohio, and Illinois have expanded by half since the 19th century. The authors say factors behind reforestation in North America and Europe range from increased conservation and farming productivity to a decline in newsprint demand following the rise of electronic media. Whether the transition from deforestation to forest expansion becomes a truly global phenomenon will depend largely on Brazil and Indonesia, where huge areas of tropical forest are still being cleared, Kauppi says. Indonesia has recorded a 6 percent annual loss in forest biomass between 1990 and 2005. "But if China and India can do it, why not Brazil and

Indonesia?" Kauppi said.

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A2: Deforestation (3/4)

Indigenous people are preventing deforestation National Geographic News, February 28 2006, Indigenous Lands Help Protect Amazon Forests,
Study Finds ( Reserve areas established for Indian peoples in Brazil (map) are as effective as uninhabited nature parks in preventing burning and clear-cutting, the study finds. An international team of researchers tested a longstanding assumption: that land in uninhabited parks is better protected than that in reserves with human populations. The scientists used satellite data taken from 1997 to 2000 to compare rates of fire and deforestation inside and outside the boundaries of different reserve types. Only protected areas larger than 25,000 acres (10,100 hectares) were included in the analysis. In the February issue of the journal Conservation Biology, the researchers report that reserves of all types are providing significant Amazon forest protection, but tribal lands may be especially important to preventing region-wide deforestation. "Many indigenous groups are very well organized, and they are also willing to use force to defend their lands," said Daniel Nepstad of the Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Massachusetts, who led the study.

Indigenous lands are preventing deforestation in the Amazon National Geographic News, February 28 2006, Indigenous Lands Help Protect Amazon Forests,
Study Finds ( The study confirms new thinking about conservation priorities in the Amazon. In the past, efforts have focused largely on protecting isolated areas with little human presence. Nepstad and others argue that while establishing parks in inaccessible regions is important, that alone doesn't slow deforestation where it most commonly occurs: along the forest's retreating edge. In fact, it is the proximity of many indigenous lands to Brazil's advancing agricultural frontier that makes them so important, conservationists say. The front line of deforestation in the Amazon has been moving into the forest from the south and east, leaving soybean fields and pastureland in its wake. But in the states of Par and Mato Grosso, that march of destruction has been halted by a vast complex of indigenous lands occupied by the Kayapo and Xingu peoples. The protective barrier created by these tribal lands is enormoustwo and half times larger than the country of Costa Rica. Here, study findings confirm what is visible to the naked eye from satellite maps. "Where indigenous land in the Amazon starts is where the frontier stops," said Stephan Schwartzman, an anthropologist with New Yorkbased nonprofit Environmental Defense and a co-author of the study. The study did not examine how protected areas with human populationsincluding indigenous lands and national forestsmaintain aspects of environmental health other than standing forest. In some parts of the Amazon, gold mining, selective logging, and illegal hunting have caused extensive damage. But these threats are less severe in many indigenous territories, where tribal groups guard against outside intrusions. "Logging and hunting aren't trivial, but I'd far rather have these kinds of impacts than have lands with little or no forest at all," said William Laurance, a staff scientist with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Manaus, Brazil. "Despite often being under staggering pressures, the indigenous lands are doing a pretty good job of protecting the Amazon," Laurance said.

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A2: Deforestation (4/4)

Deforestation is declining in the Amazon National Geographic News, February 28 2006, Indigenous Lands Help Protect Amazon Forests,
Study Finds ( By demonstrating such protection, the new study underscores the value of strategic alliances among conservationists, indigenous tribes, and other rural land users. Such alliances have helped tribes like the Kayapo gain official recognition of reserve areas and aided them in enforcing bans on forest clearing and other illegal activities. Study co-author Paul Lefebvre, a research associate at the Woods Hole Research Center, says a number of groups share a common interest in maintaining the forest. "There are some who still argue that you need to put up fences and keep people out to protect the forest," Lefebvre said. "What we're seeing now is that by keeping the people there, you can actually enhance protection." After proceeding at a record rate from 2002 to 2004, Amazon deforestation slowed a bit in 2005. While falling prices of commodities found in the region are thought to be partly responsible, new reserves and improved enforcement also played a role. Last year the Brazilian government created nearly 20,000 square miles (51,800 square kilometers) of new sustainable-use reserves north of Kayapo lands. These reserves create a formidable new barrier to frontier expansion, and alongside other reserves they form a nearly continuous protected zone over 90,000 square miles (233,000 square kilometers). "The alliance between conservation and indigenous groups has now extended to 'smallholder' organizations," Nepstad said, referring to groups of small-scale farmers and forest users whose advocacy helped lead to the new protected areas. "They are, in one respect, the Amazon's new conservationists," Nepstad said. With additional new reserves planned over the coming years, more than 40 percent of the Brazilian Amazon forest will have some protected status.

Turn Deforestation Good Economy/Food

Deforestation is key to industry, food production, housing and economic growth Fiset 7 (Nathalie Fiset, M.D., is an expert author at Benefits of Deforestation March 2007.
Benefits-of-Deforestation&id=504455) Whenever people talk about deforestation, usually the things that spring to mind are negative thoughts brought on mostly by media hypes and environmentalist drives. People think about global warming, depletion of natural resources, and the casual extinction of indigenous fauna and flora. Yet people don't seem to realize that there

are actually quite a

few benefits of deforestation. One of the easiest benefits of deforestation to spot are the economic ones. Lumber products are one of the most staple constructive materials in human society. Whether it's raw lumber used for making tables and houses, or paper and other wood by-products, we simply cannot live without the use of lumber. Like steel and
stone, wood is one of the most basic natural resources, and unlike steel and stone, it is renewable simply by growing more trees. The only real trick to balancing it's consumption is to grow more trees to replace the ones taken. On a similarly related note, keep in mind that a

lot of jobs revolve around the use of lumber. Wood cutters aside, there are those who work in processing plants to make glue from wood sap, process pulp into paper, and others. This is another benefit of deforestation; it opens more job opportunities for people who would otherwise be unemployed. These job opportunities are more than simply a humanitarian concept; society at large would suffer if all of the people working in the wood industry were to suddenly find themselves jobless. This benefit of deforestation not only covers the people who cut down trees and process them, but also extends to the people who "clean up" after them. For every patch of forest cut down,

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arable land becomes available for farmers, or can be used as an area to place urban living sites like apartments, houses, and buildings. The number of people employed by such a construction project are many and varied. Or, if the
city/government mandates replanting trees to replace the lost ones, then jobs are also provided for those people who do the seeding after a patch of forest is stripped. Thinking about it, the

cleared areas are places which provide a lot of potential for growth, and this is yet another benefit of deforestation. As stated above, arable land is valuable, and the act of deforestation to clear a place for farm land provides a much needed additional food source for man. More often than not, the soil in a forest is much richer than
that of regular farm lands because of the wide variety of life it supports. This new land area grants a much needed place to grow a food supply to deal with the planet's steadily expanding population of humanity. Then, of course, there is the fact that these cleared areas may be razed for urban renewal. Given

our burgeoning population growth, additional living areas made on cleared forest land is another benefit of deforestation. These places can be converted into more than just housing
areas. Buildings which can house offices for work, or factories to produce clothing and other essential items, or even research facilities for things like new medical or technological advances can be placed in these deforested areas. Lastly, another benefit of deforestation to consider is the access it provides to other natural resources that may lay within the forest's land area. Some places with heavy forests are home to iron ore, mineral, and even oil deposits which can be used for man's needs. These natural resources would otherwise lay dormant and untapped unless people access them. The act of deforestation may not be entirely necessary to get at these deposits sometimes, but coupled with the advantages given above, the combination of opening up a new mine or oil well when taken with extra living spaces or farm lands for food makes a lot of sense. So,

given all of the benefits of deforestation outlined above, you can see that more often than not, the good outweighs the bad. The planet's environment may indeed suffer from the effects of deforestation, but that is due to irresponsible use of the resources and other benefits provided, not the deforestation itself. As people living on the planet, our
duty is not to "hold back" and stop cutting trees. It is to use what we glean from the Earth responsibly and wisely for humanity and the planet's benefit.

Turn Deforestation Good Economics

The economic benefits of deforestation outweigh the costs Andersen 97 (Lykke E. Andersen, Professor, Department of Economics University of Aarhus, Demmark. A CostBenefit Analysis of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon Rio de Janeiro, January 1997

This paper has attempted to collect the best available evidence on the total economic value of standing Amazonian rain forest. Estimates
were calculated for both a low discount rate of 2% and a higher discount rate of 6%. The low discount rate is most compatible with the rate a global social planner would adopt. At this rate the total economic value of a standing rain forest is estimated at roughly $l8,000/hectare (in 1990 US$). The

value of a standing forest was compared with estimares of the net present value of different agricultural land uses. It was shown that a sequence of land uses provides the optimal development strategy. Loggers should first be allowed to extract the commercially valuable timber from the virgin forest. Then smallscale farmers should be granted property rights and be allowed to use the land as they find optimal. This is likely
$24,000/hectare. With

to be unsustainable slash-and-burn cultivation of annual crops initially, but as the area develops and population densities and land prices increase, there will be a natural intensification in the use of land and the area will eventually be covered with sustainable perennial crops. This sequence of land uses yields an estimated net present agricultural value of roughly

spill-over effects to the urban sector the total net present value of agricultural land increases to about $l20,000/hectare. The potential benefits of deforestation thus

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seem to exceed the costs at the current level of deforestation.

However, these two estimares of the costs and the benefits of deforestation only represent one point on the cost curve and one point on the benefit curve, namely the points associated with approximately 10% deforestation. As the level of deforestation increases, the global costs of deforestation will rise, and it will eventually pass the value of agricultural land. At that point, the international comunity has to provide incentives to induce Brazil to preserve the remainder of the forest. The external benefits of a standing rain forest amounts to roughly $9,000/hectare at the current level of deforestation. At the optimal level it will be much higher. Thus, international transfers in excess of $9,000/hectare will be needed to secure that deforestation in the world largest remaining rain forest will not exceed the globally optimal level.

Turn Deforestation Causes Global Cooling (1/2)

Despite increases in CO2, deforestation causes global cooling Bala et al. 7 (G. Bala, K. Caldeira, M. Wickett, T. J. Phillips, D. B. Lobell, C. Delire, and A. Mirin, Combined climate and carboncycle effects of large-scale deforestation Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,

Atmospheric CO2 content is greater in the Global deforestation experiment by 381 ppmv because of both the release of carbon stored in trees in the early 21st century and the loss of CO2 fertilization of forested ecosystems seen in the Standard simulation (Fig. 1). Despite higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations, the global- and annualmean temperature in the Global case is cooler by 0.3 K than the Standard case. Thus, on a global-mean basis, the warming carbon-cycle effects of deforestation are overwhelmed by the cooling biophysical effects.
Relative to the Standard case, the atmospheric CO2 concentration is higher by 299, 110, and 5 ppmv in the Tropical, Temperate, and Boreal cases. The global-mean temperature differences relative to the Standard case in year 2100 in the Tropical, Temperate, and Boreal experiments are +0.7 K, 0.04 K, and 0.8 K, respectively (Fig. 1), implying that the combined carbon-cycle and biophysical effects from tropical, temperate, and boreal deforestation are, respectively, net warming, near-zero temperature change, and net cooling. These latitude-band experiments thus suggest that projects in the tropics promoting afforestation are likely to slow down global warming, but such projects would offer only little to no climate benefits when implemented in temperate regions and would be counterproductive, from a climate-perspective, at higher latitudes. The linear sum of the area-weighted global-mean temperature change over all of the latitude-band experiments is 0.1 K in the year 2100. This value is close to the corresponding 0.3 K temperature change of the Global deforestation simulation, suggesting a near-linear behavior of the large-scale climate system despite the many nonlinear processes represented by the INCCA model. The linear sum is slightly larger because, in the latitude-band experiments, our dynamic vegetation model allows the forests to expand in the regions that are not deforested (23, 26), and forests have lower albedo and absorb more solar radiation than grasses. The presence of trees in the latitude-band deforestation experiments and the consequent higher CO2 fertilization causes the linear sum of CO2 changes from the Tropical, Temperate, and Boreal experiments to be lower than that of the Global case by 67 ppmv in year 2100. Because the linear sum of the temperature response from latitude-band experiments is approximately equal to that of the Global case (Fig. 1), we focus our analysis on our global-scale deforestation simulation for brevity. The removal of forests in the Global case results in an atmospheric CO2 concentration at year 2100 that is 381 ppmv greater than in the Standard simulation (1,113 vs. 732 ppmv; Fig. 1). In the Standard A2 scenario, 1,790 PgC carbon is emitted to the atmosphere over the 21st century (Fig. 2). By year 2100, the terrestrial biosphere in the Global deforestation experiment has 972 Pg less carbon than in the Standard case. Approximately 82% (799 PgC) of this carbon resides in the atmosphere, with the oceans taking up the remaining 18% (173 PgC). The ocean uptake increases in the Global case (444 vs. 271 PgC in Standard) because the higher atmospheric CO2 concentration drives an increased flux of carbon into the oceans.

Turn Deforestation Causes Global Cooling (2/2)

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Deforestation causes net global cooling Bala et al. 7 (G. Bala, K. Caldeira, M. Wickett, T. J. Phillips, D. B. Lobell, C. Delire, and A. Mirin, Combined climate and carboncycle effects of large-scale deforestation Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,

The prevention of deforestation and promotion of afforestation have often been cited as strategies to slow global warming. Deforestation releases CO2 to the atmosphere, which exerts a warming influence on Earth's climate. However, biophysical effects of deforestation, which include changes in land surface albedo, evapotranspiration, and cloud cover also affect climate. Here we present results from several large-scale deforestation experiments performed with a three-dimensional
coupled global carbon-cycle and climate model. These simulations were performed by using a fully three-dimensional model representing physical and biogeochemical interactions among land, atmosphere, and ocean. We find

that globalscale deforestation has a net cooling influence on Earth's climate, because the warming carbon-cycle effects of deforestation are overwhelmed by the net cooling associated with changes in albedo and evapotranspiration. Latitude-specific deforestation experiments indicate that
afforestation projects in the tropics would be clearly beneficial in mitigating global-scale warming, but would be counterproductive if implemented at high latitudes and would offer only marginal benefits in temperate regions. Although these results question the efficacy of mid- and high-latitude afforestation projects for climate mitigation, forests remain environmentally valuable resources for many reasons unrelated to climate.

AT Deforestation Causes Flooding (1/2)

New studies prove that deforestation does not cause flooding Monga Bay News 5 (Deforestation does not cause flooding says new study FAO/CIFOR news release

Deforestation and logging do not increase the risk of major floods according to a new report from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). The study, citing evidence showing that the frequency and extent of major floods has not changed over the last century despite significant reductions in forest cover, challenges the conventional belief that forest loss causes floods.
Instead, FAO and CIFOR say that deforestation does have a role in small floods and topsoil erosion by eliminating the buffering and soil anchoring effects of forests. Further, the report accuses Asian governments of using deforestation as an excuse to deflect criticism over their poor handling of human settlement in areas unsuitable for habitation.

Deforestation does not cause flooding CIFOR 5 (Center for International Forestry Research Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Forests and floods:
Drowning in fiction or thriving on facts? RAP Publication 2005/03 Forest Perspectives, It is commonly believed that forests are necessary to regulate stream flow and reduce runoff, and to some extent this is true. But, in reality, forests tend to be rather extravagant users of water, which is contradictory to earlier thinking (FAO 2003). Considerable quantities of rainfall (up to 35 per cent) are commonly intercepted by the canopies of tropical forests and evaporated back into the atmosphere without contributing to soil water reserves. Much of the water that does soak into the soil is used by the trees themselves. This should put to rest the belief that extensive reforestation or afforestation will increase

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the low flows in the dry season (Hamilton and Pearce 1987). Therefore, replacing forest cover with other land uses almost always results in increased runoff and stream flow. Runoff and stream-flow patterns will gradually return to original levels if an area is left to revert back to forest. Converting forest to grasslands, however, will normally result in a permanent increase in total water runoff. Contrary

to popular belief, forests have only a limited influence on major downstream flooding, especially large-scale events. It is correct that on a local scale forests and forest soils are capable of reducing runoff, generally as the result of
enhanced infiltration and storage capacities. But this holds true only for small-scale rainfall events, which are not responsible for severe flooding in downstream areas. During

a major rainfall event (like those that result in massive flooding), especially after prolonged periods of preceding rainfall, the forest soil becomes saturated and water no longer filters into the soil but instead runs off along the soil surface. Studies in America (Hewlett and Helvey 1970), and South Africa (Hewlett and Bosch 1984) were amongst some of the first to question the importance of the link between forest conversion and flooding. Studies in the Himalayas indicate that the increase in infiltration capacity of forested lands over non-forested lands is insufficient to influence major downstream flooding events (Gilmour et al. 1987; Hamilton 1987).
Instead, the main factors influencing major flooding given a large rainfall event, are: (i) the geomorphology of the area; and (ii) preceding rainfall (Bruijnzeel 1990, 2004; Calder 2000; Hamilton with King 1983; Kattelmann 1987).

AT Deforestation Causes Flooding (2/2)

No evidence for deforestation causing flooding CIFOR 4 Center for International Forestry Research Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, The great flood myth "Haiti's deforestation allows flood water to run unchecked," declared USA Today. Haiti's prime minister pointed the finger at poor farmers for cutting down trees for fuel and to make charcoal. The Associated Press ran touching interviews with the elders of the flood-ravaged Haitian town of Mapou about how they had been forced to fell trees to cook their food even though they knew it would eventually bring about their own destruction. France's foreign minister promised aid to reforest the denuded hillsides. It was a predictable response. Just about every time there is a major flood anywhere in the world, small farmers and loggers are held to account. Floods in Bangladesh are blamed on forest clearing in the Himalayas. In the late 1990s, loggers took the rap for the thousands who died, and the billions of dollars of damage done, during Hurricane Mitch in

the idea that loggers and small farmers help cause devastating floods is so ingrained inmost people's minds that few would think to question it. But the idea is deeply flawed. There is not a shred of scientific evidence to suggest that logging or deforestation play significant roles in massive floods. And the myth is doing great damage to farmers who need forests to survive.
Central America, and for the floods along China's Yangtze river. Indeed,

AT Deforestation - Exaggerated
There is little scientific information about the extent of deforestation Rothbard and Rucker 97 (David Rothbard and Craig Rucker, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, The rainforest issue:
Myths and facts CFACT Briefing Paper #102.

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Why these claims are wrong: While

some advocates like to make grand, sweeping statements about rainforest loss and put in big numbers that make it sound catastrophic, Roger Sedjo and Marion Clawson, writing for Resources for the Future, dug into the available evidence and said, "Information about the tropical moist forests is relatively scant. What information we do have comes from anecdotal evidence -- provided by isolated investigations at single times and places -- than from systematic studies conducted over large areas and lengths of time... A hard look at the available data supports the view that some regions are experiencing rapid deforestation. However, the view that this is a pervasive phenomenon on a global level is questionable." (Rational Readings, Julian Simon, p.
745) So what does available evidence show? And where do environmentalists begin to get their numbers? Well U.S. News and World Report (12/13/93) explains that while the figure of 40 million acres per year "has taken on a life of its own," it is being "cited and recited without reference to its origins. Yet almost half the estimated total comes from a very rough estimate made by a Brazilian scientist who used sensors on a U.S. weather satellite to count the number of fires burning in the Amazon at one time in 1988 [at the height of government-subsidized deforestation]. He estimated the size of each, [guessing at the number of acres being cleared by each fire then assumed that 40 percent would never return to their forested condition, and finally doubled this number to arrive at an estimated guess for global deforestation.] The resulting number was into the widely cited report by the World Resources Institute...that helped fuel the alarm over vanishing tropical forests; [and] was cited by Gore and other administration officials last spring in announcing support for the Biodiversity Treaty.

AT Biodiversity Loss (1/2)

Biodiversity claims are exaggerated, there is no risk of extinction from deforestation Rothbard and Rucker 97 (David Rothbard and Craig Rucker, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, The rainforest issue:
Myths and facts CFACT Briefing Paper #102. Another important fact, according to Sedjo and Clawson, relates to a study done by the Food and Agriculture Organization and U.N. Environmental Programme by J.P. Lanly. Lanly is Forest Coordinator for the UNEP/FAO Tropical Resources Assessment Project and his study "indicates that [of

the roughly 7 million acres worldwide per year] the undisturbed or "virgin" broadleaved closed forests have a far lower rate of deforestation than the total, being only 0.27 percent annually as compared with 2.06 percent annually for logged over secondary forest. This figure indicates that deforestation pressure on the more pristine and generally more genetically diverse tropical forests is quite low." Further, "these findings are in sharp contrast to the conventional view that the tropical forests are `disappearing at an alarming rate' and suggest that concerns over the imminent loss of some of the most important residences of the world's diverse genetic base, based on rates of tropical deforestation, are probably grossly exaggerated." (Simon, Rational Readings, p.746) Sedjo and Clawson also said "While the local effects of rapid
deforestation may be severe, the evidence does not support the view that either the world or the tropics are experiencing rapid aggregate deforestation. Furthermore,

the evidence shows that current rates of deforestation are quite modest in much of the world's virgin tropical forests, for example those of the Amazon; and therefore they are probably in little danger of wholesale destruction in the foreseeable future." (Eco-Sanity, p.90) Sandra Brown, professor of forestry at U. of Illinois and Ariel Lugo,

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project leader at the U.S. Forest Service's Institute of Tropical Forestry in Puerto Rico also studied available data and "concluded the `dangerous' misinterpretation and exaggeration of the rate of deforestation has become common." As for the amount of deforestation in relation to total forest area, Thomas Lovejoy, then of the World Wildlife Fund, offered a low projection of 50% deforestation between 1980 and 2000 in Latin America and a high of 67%. The source for this was a set of satellite photos taken in 1978 and reported in the Washington Post to show that "as much as one-tenth of the Brazilian Amazon has been razed." But according

to Fulbright scholar and ecologist Robert Buschbacher working in Brazil, the Landsat photos "concluded that 1.55 percent of the Brazilian portion of the Amazon has been deforested." "On the basis of this and other evidence, Buschbacher says, `Because of a relatively low percentage of forest clearing and the remarkable capacity of the forest to recover its structure...the threat of turning the Amazon into a wasteland is exaggerated.'

AT Biodiversity Loss (2/2)

Numbers about species loss are exaggerated, actual extinctions remain low and dont threaten human survival Rothbard and Rucker 97 (David Rothbard and Craig Rucker, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, The rainforest issue:
Myths and facts CFACT Briefing Paper #102.

Another real-world observation that casts doubt on the Wilson theory actually comes from an island, Puerto Rico, where according to Lugo, human activity reduced the area of primary forest by 99%. "But because of extensive use of coffee
shade trees in the coffee region and secondary forests, forest cover was never less than 10 to 15%...[and] in an analysis of bird fauna, [it

was] concluded that seven bird species (four of them endemic) became extinct after 500 years of human pressure...and that exotic species enlarged the species pool. In the 1980's, more birds were present
on the island (97 species) than were present in pre-Columbian times (60 species)...Secondary forests in Puerto Rico have [also] served as refugia for primary forest tree species as well." (Lugo, "Biodiversity," p.66) So what do real-world observations say about the worldwide loss of species? Well in response to questions about species extinction, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) commissioned a book in 1992 to look into the matter. According to Simon, all the authors are ecologists who

express concern abut the rate of extinction. Nevertheless, they all agree that the rate of known extinctions has been and continues to be very low. They found, "60 birds and mammals are known to have become extinct between 1900 and 1950," "actual extinctions remain low...many species appear to have either an almost miraculous capacity for survival, or a guardian angel watching over their destiny," and not "a single known animal species...could be properly declared as extinct, in spite of the massive reduction in area and fragmentation of their habitats in the past decades and centuries of intensive human activity." (Simon, Scarcity or Abundance, pp. 200-202) So given all of this, why
do environmentalists persist in using grandiose numbers to express their concerns about species loss? Dr. Julian Simon notes that "biologists with whom I have discussed this material agree

that the numbers in

question are most uncertain. But they say the numbers do not matter scientifically. The conclusion
would be the same, they say, if the numbers were different even by several orders of magnitude. If that is so, why mention any numbers at all? The answer, quite clearly is that these numbers do matter in one important way; they have they power to frighten in a fashion that numbers much smaller would not. The [Congressional Office of Technology Assessment] OTA 1986

NYU Debate


document says: `Conveying the importance of biological diversity will require a formulation of the issue in terms that are easily understandable and convincing.' These frightening numbers meet that test. I can find no

scientific justification for such use of numbers." Thus, the lack of any evidence for mass extinctions causes no hesitation on the part of those environmentalists calling for quick and draconian action.