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Will the Economic Crisis Be Good for Forests?

 by Keith Goetzman

Tags: Environment, forests, trees, economic crisis,

It’s easy to play good news-bad news when considering the environmental effects of the global economic crisis. Rhett Butler at Mongabay.com, one of our favorite rainforest conservation websites, gave us a bit of a lift in a recent commentary when he pointed out that “plunging commodity prices may offer a reprieve for the world’s beleaguered tropical forests.” Butler is a realist, and he readily cites the many environmental downsides of the current crisis, but he also notes that the price dive “may do what conservationists have largely failed to achieve in recent years: slow deforestation.”

It’s not just wood he’s talking about: He notes that in Southeast Asia, a collapse in the prices of palm oil and rubber “is causing a shake-out in the plantation sector, which has become one of the leading drivers of deforestation in the region.”