, Research Paper
Kumaran Consultants GroupKumaran Consultants Group, sala 43150017-400 – Brasilia – DF Tel: (55 61) 431-5489 and 431-5678Fax: (55 61) 431-5567 February 16, 1999Ministry of DevelopmentEsplanada dos Minist rios, Bloco E, sala 39870067-900 – Bras lia – DFTel: (55 61) 317-7557 and 317-7923Fax: (55 61) 317-7657 Dear Sir or Madam: Realistic proposals for sustainable development of the rainforest source Tropical rainforests are some of the richest and most interesting botanical treasures on earth. They are estimated to contain more than half of the world’s flowering plants, in addition to a majority of the world’s ferns, mosses and liverworts. Needles to say Brazil has a rich rainforest resource, which is being ruthlessly exploited. Studies have shown that in a single square mile of rainforest in Brazil, there maybe may be 1200 or more species of butterflies alone-twice the total number found in the United States and Canada combined. Therefore, to preserve our rich natural resource, Kumaran Consultants Group would like to suggest a few alternatives that the Government of Brazil can implement to save this precious treasure of Brazil. Proposal -1: Extractive resourcesThe least practical solution for saving rainforests in Brazil is to simply turn them all into parks. Certainly some areas should be designated as parks or preserves. However, in many cases, completely setting aside the land is not an option. And even when land is set aside, in order to protect it there often needs to be some kind of buffer zone where limited, sustainable exploitation of the forest can be practiced. A number of sustainable options may be possible, while maintaining the general integrity of the ecosystem. Brazil can implement a program in parts of the country where the traditional ways of making a living has been to tap rubber trees for their latex. Over the past 30 years or so, the logging and cattle industries have shown increasing interest in using the rainforests more heavily. Neither intensive logging nor cattle ranching are compatible with rubber tapping because they destroy the very fabric of the rainforest. It is a well known fact that for a number of years now, clashes between rubber tappers and loggers and ranchers have increased, and quite a number of people have lost their lives on both sides, although losses are greater among the rubber tappers. We feel that the tropical rainforests need to be protected, but we also recognize that the rubber tappers need to be provided for. We propose the formation of extractive reserves; large areas set-aside solely for sustainable harvesting of latex and other natural products. If the Government of Brazil could implement this plan, we can vouch for the sustainable development of the rainforest and assure a dependable income for the local rubber tappers
Proposal -2: Drafting new lawsAnother potential use of tropical forest resources is as a source of plant material to screen for potential drug development, especially for cancer fighting drugs. Unfortunately, past development of drugs from tropical forest plants has only enriched the drug companies and the local people received no benefits. We feel that Brazil should being drafting laws that require drug companies to return royalties to the local areas where the original plant compounds were gathered. Therefore, when we invite large multinational drug businesses to set up their branches in Brazil, these drug companies will cooperate with the local people. The companies will employ the locals and with the sharing of the profits between the locals, the Government of Brazil and the drug businesses, preservation of the rainforests would be possible. This can be achieved since this plan would lead the citizens of Brazil to value their natural resources more highly, thus giving them a greater incentive to preserve them. Proposal -3: EcotourismAn even more promising way to save tropical forests is through ecotourism. More and more people from wealthier nations are willing to pay a lot of money to visit out of the way places, and tropical forests are high on the list of many. In addition to visiting the forests themselves, many of these kinds of tourists are also interested in archeological sites and the customs of indigenous people. If the local people can be encouraged to retain some of their traditional ways while at the same time provide tourists such things as food, lodging and guide services, they could benefit financially and make a living while preserving the local forest. Additional income can come from local handcraft items made from local forest products. Some successful ecotourism programs have been developed in places like Belize in Central America, but many such ventures are still in their infancy and need a lot more work to become successful. If this plan is implemented in Brazil, the rewards are twofold. The local people and the Government of Brazil can make a profit out of this venture, which could go into the preservation of the rainforests. We recognize the harm posed by ecotourism such as destroyed vegetation when large numbers of tourists travel to these forests. Therefore, if the correct numbers of tourists are allowed, then this barrier could be easily gotten over. In conclusion, we are very thankful for the Government of Brazil for providing us with such an opportunity to serve Brazil and it s people. Kumaran Consultants Group is honored that it was chosen to advise the government on preserving our richest natural resource and consequently we hope that our recommendations and proposals are taken seriously. Sincerely, Kumaran NadesalingamCEOKumaran Consultants Group
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