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Study Reveals International Efforts to Cut Deforestation Have Been Overlooking Money as Primary Fact

Despite some common presumptions on the matter, it seems that most deforestation occurring in the Congo Basin is the result of only a small share of locals, and those that are taking part aren’t doing so for self-sufficiency but rather to “increase their quality of life,” according to a new study from the University of Leuven.

For money, in other words. Short term benefit, at the expense of long-term responsibility to and reliance on the land. Which has consistently throughout history been the main driver of deforestation, rather than necessity, despite some commonly used arguments by defenders of the practice, and of “endless” human expansion. (Obviously human expansion isn’t actually endless as some would apparently prefer, but rather now nearing the end of the “boom” part of the boom and bust cycles seen in many generalist species when expanding rapidly into new regions.)

The new findings are the result of fieldwork in the region undertaken by bioscience engineer Pieter Moonen from KU Leuven (University of Leuven), Belgium. The primary implication of the work is that current international “efforts” to reduce deforestation in the region aren’t taking the motives and behavior of locals into account, thus reducing their efficacy.

Kate Evans/CIFOR

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