La pérdida de los bosques del mundo

Toda la gente que me encuentro afirma que le encantan los árboles –que de veras le encantan los árboles—y sin embargo, a nivel colectivo los humanos se comportan como si odiaran lo verde. Si retrocedemos un paso desde cualquier bioma en el que estemos ahora y vemos toda la Tierra y sus bosques a lo largo de la historia, veremos que la relación entre humanos y árboles Parece curiosamente una guerra (el título de un libro reciente de Derrick Jensen y George Draffan sobre los bosques).

La magnitud exacta del daño es difícil de discernir, porque durante muchos años no hubo registros, pero se calcula que los humanos han talado o quemado el 75% de los bosques originales del mundo. Por supuesto, algunos han vuelto a crecer o se han vuelto a plantar, pero se cree que actualmente sólo tenemos la mitad de las tierras forestales que alguna vez tuvimos en este planeta. En algunos lugares, particularmente en las regiones más áridas del globo, la deforestación fue tan severa y le siguió un pastoreo tan intenso que los bosques no han podido volver a crecer. El paisaje se ha alterado permanentemente.

Cuando pensamos en Grecia, Italia e Iraq, es probable que nos imaginemos un paisaje seco con vistas abiertas, como son actualmente. Sin embargo, los registros históricos señalan que esas regiones alguna vez estuvieron cubiertas por bosques densos. Los bosques cayeron a medida que las civilizaciones florecieron, de forma que mientras más pronto se “civilizaba” un lugar, más rápido se deforestaba. John Perlin documentó este avance del llamado progreso y la consecuente pérdida de bosques en su libro A Forest Journey de 1989. Así, actualmente estamos en un planeta que sólo conserva el 50% de su cobertura forestal. Y esta es la parte que debería llenarnos los ojos de lágrimas: cada año perdemos más cobertura forestal.

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