Views on the Topic of Reed's Book Forest Dweller, Forest Protectors

Views on the Topic of Reed's Book Forest Dweller, Forest Protectors
Many of the countries of South America have experienced severe balance of payments deficits. In order to encourage development and solve these problems, the governments have engaged in misguided and largely unsuccessful development projects in the rain forests. Ranchers have cleared the forests to raise cattle. Colonization projects have brought small farmers into regions that were once virgin forest. The farming practices that were developed in temperate regions are not very successful in these areas. The land is quickly depleted and the farmers and ranchers clear more forest. The authors of this article suggest that this pattern is not necessary. They explain that simply by following the models of sustainable resource extraction practiced by the indigenous people of the area, the resources of the rain forest can be utilized sustainably. The areas in which sustainable resource extraction is being investigated include gathered products, wild game, aquaculture, agriculture, and resource units. The authors explain each type of resource and touch on how each can be extracted sustainably with the help of indigenous models.
For example, game animals could be taken from the forest sustainably if they were ?cropped in a form of ?semi-domestication? in abandoned garden sites? (Posey, et al 1984). This would mimic the indigenous people such as the Guaraní who are able to keep populations of important game animals artificially high when they allow them to eat food plants out of their gardens. If this model were followed, more animals could be hunted with less harm to the population. Agricultural practices of native peoples could also be copied. These people rely on local plants that are adapted to the local conditions. They also use shifting cultivation and disperse gardens over wide areas. In these ways they conserve the soil and minimize the spread of insect pests and plant diseases. Not only is this method of agriculture sustainable, it also produces high yields per unit of labor and per unit of land. The authors conclude that there is a need for a systematic study of the knowledge indigenous people possess about the utilization of tropical rain forest resources. This knowledge could help with the development of ecologically sound development policies. This article agrees with many of the points made in Richard Reed?s book Forest Dwellers, Forest Protectors. Reed suggests that agroforestry may be the key to the preservation of the forests of Paraguay and other parts of South America. Agroforestry is a method of using the resources of a forest without destroying them or causes detrimental changes to the environment. Much like the model Posey, et al suggested, it combines agriculture, aquaculture, hunting, and gathering into a larger, sustainable system. The only major difference I see between the two models is who is profiting from the forests. Reed emphasizes that indigenous people need forests that are protected from clearing and open, fair markets so that they can continue to practice agroforestry. He does suggest that these methods could be used as models for sustainable resource use by outsiders, but I don?t think that he is advocating teaching yerba extraction to mestizos. The tone of the paper by Posey et al seems to me to suggest that outsiders (presumably westerners) should look at how the indigenous people use their environment because others can do the same thing and profit in the same way. It almost seems like they are suggesting that outsiders should go into the rain forests and begin extracting the resources in ways similar to those the indigenous people utilize. This could cause intense competition for rare resources if not implemented properly. This article makes several points that seem controversial or don?t completely agree with Reed?s book. It says ?indigenous and folk societies are now organizing themselves into political and economic interest groups with the power to represent their interests within the regional, national and international systems? (Posey et al 1984). Not only does this sentence refer to indigenous populations as ?folk societies? a degrading description, it also gives an overly optimistic statement about a complex situation. Though there has been some success in indigenous people forming pan-regional coalitions, many attempts have not worked out well. Reed explains the difficulties experienced when outsiders try to unite groups for a common purpose. Second, Posey et al suggests that turtles and manatees could be hunted and used for meat in a sustainable way. I find this point to be highly controversial. Large mammals such as manatees are more vulnerable to over-hunting because their populations are not very dense. Many varieties of turtles are already endangered in the rain forests because there is too much sediment and pollution in the rivers. I don?t think that these species should be considered in sustainable hunting programs. Finally, some of the ideas of these authors, including gathering insects, organizing plantations of fruit bearing trees and keeping animals that eat the fruits on the land as a ?game farm,? and developing resource units seem a little bit far fetched. All of the ideas of this paper do, however, merit careful review. Any use of a rain forest that maintains the biodiversity and all allows the ecosystem to remain intact is better than clear cutting.

Views on the Topic of Reed's Book Forest Dweller, Forest Protectors 7.6 of 10 on the basis of 2893 Review.