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Sustainable Use of Rainforest Products

Due to the importance of rainforest products, their uses and properties, it would be unwise to prohibit the use of products derived from rainforests. Not only are they a source of subsistence for rainforest communities, but a source of healing for many sicknesses, and are essential for protecting the environment by generating rain and providing water.

Rainforests are, however, threatened by lumber companies and unsustainable agricultural practices whereby large portions of rainforest areas are burnt for keeping livestock and farms. It is necessary that governments implement policies to regulate the use and exploitation of rainforest areas in order to protect the environment and the natural products that can be obtained from rainforests.

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To ensure that rainforest products are used and produced sustainably, training and educational programs should be conducted in order to provide farmers with healthy and sustainable framing practices. This would make it possible to use rainforest products in a way that does not totally destroy the plants and trees and encourages re growth. Unsustainable practices for producing rainforest products make it necessary to occupy and exploit more and more land instead of being able to rotate production using rainforest land that has already been used. Unsustainable production and farming methods are therefore expensive and do not create a system whereby farmers are capable of securing their source of income.

Lumber, chewing gum and paper are products and bi products of rainforest products. Since large amounts of rainforest lands are claimed for these sectors, and huge trees would require hundreds of years to grow back, regulations are important for the way in which rainforest land is destroyed to access these rainforest products. Part of this consists of educating people with the objective o creating a new culture of recycling. Recycled products need to be promoted so that they are bought and used by individuals and companies because of the large amounts of paper consumed in the business world and on a day to day basis. Governments need to be encouraged to invest in recycling plants, instead of spending millions in imports that are rainforest based or depend on rainforest bi products to be manufactured. Private firms can also be given subsidies so as to promote recycling and other conservation activities and greener methods of production that will over time significantly reduce the destruction of rainforests products. Additionally, diversification by seeking other means of earning income can reduce the emphasis placed on rainforest products for economic development. Financial services, international professional services and research and development have proven to be viable, alternative economic activities.

Much of this topic regarding the sustainable use of rainforest products lies with governments, as most of the threat under which rainforests are results from the policies established. For the sake of development and generating income, companies are given contracts and rights to manufacture rainforest products for export and to generate foreign exchange, whilst economic activities that are sustainable are not adequately invested in.

In spite of this, many governments in countries and islands that are still relatively heavily covered with rainforests have used their rainforests products to their benefit. These governments have done this by investing in and promoting ecotourism, which significantly reduces the destruction of rainforests for the purpose of building luxury resorts and casinos. Instead, rainforest products become the center of tourism and rivers, waterfalls, lakes, volcano vents and historical sites are converted into the rainforest products of these countries. Tourists are able to visit these sites, receive a true nature experience and get insight into the lives of neighbouring communities. Rather than destroy these rainforest products to earn foreign exchange and to create employment, such ecotourism has proven effective in generating much needed tourist arrivals, foreign exchange and employment. Exploiting rainforest products in this way creates employment for taxi drivers, tour guides, divers, and increases hotel accommodation. New innovative holiday and vacation activities like hiking, rock climbing, yoga, river tubing, aerial tram rides are created, developing new tourism niches for these rainforest products.

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