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forests

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Over the last fifteen years, two of the most contentious issues faced by the World Bank have been its involvement in the forest sector and its structural adjustment lending.

This report addresses the intersection of these two arenas by asking:

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Cameroon contains some of the Congo Basin's most biologically diverse and most threatened forests.

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Central Africa's forests have a long history of human use. Large-scale commercial logging, however, is a recent phenomenon.

This report addresses the following questions:

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In light of the important issues that trade and forests entail, this report analyzes the risks and opportunities associated with proposed liberalization of international commerce in forest products.

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In 1995, the World Resources Institute published a comparative study of national laws and policies affecting forests and forest-dwellers in India, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and PNG (Lynch and Talbott, 1995). The study arrived at two main conclusions.

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Over the past 150 years, deforestation has contributed an estimated 30 percent of the atmospheric build-up of CO2. It is also a significant driving force behind the loss of genes, species, and critical ecosystem services.

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Burma holds more than half of mainland Southeast Asia's closed forest, and is often called "the last frontier of biodiversity in Asia." Having lost virtually all of their original forest cover, Burma's neighbors -- China, India, and Thailand -- rely increasingly on Burma as a source of timber.

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Recommends policies to promote renewed forest stewardship and sound environmental management neglected during the Mobutu dictatorship and civil war. Argues that proper husbanding of the country's forest resources can act as a stimulant to economic growth.

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The raging fires that recently destroyed large portions of the Brazilian Amazon, have generated global concern for the future on the world's last few intact forest frontiers. Indeed, Indonesia's and Venezuela's forests have also suffered fire-induced destruction.

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Guyana's abundant forest resources, encompassing 85 percent of its land area at the heart of the Guiana Shield, represent the largest remaining intact tropical forest frontier in the world.

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Tropical forests are vanishing at alarming rates throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and their many contributions to huan welfare are being undermined. Despite increased efforts to stem deforestation, recent findings indicate that the problem is getting worse.

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As the 21st Century approaches, the world is being impoverished as its most fundamental capital stock--its species, habitats, and ecosystems--erodes. Not since the Cretaceous era ended some 65 million years ago have losses been so rapid and great.

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Under current national income accounting practices, assets such as buildings and equipment are valued as productive assets and depreciated over time; natural resource assets are not. This asymmetry is the way national assets are treated sends misleading signals to policymakers.

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This report summarizes forest and crop damage in the United States and Europe, examines the evidence connecting it to air pollution, and recommends that emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and hydrocarbons be significantly reduced and non-fossil energy sources introduced.

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Throughout much of the developing world, accelerating deforestation is laying waste to vital economic assets, destroying fragile soils, and driving wild species to extinction. In industrialized countries as well, forests are imperiled by pollution and contested by conflicting uses.

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