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The Ecologist January 1980: A proposal to save the world’s tropical rain forests

Edward Goldsmith

January, 1980

Thirty years ago this month, Edward Goldsmith published a revised version of WEAP, the World Ecological Areas Programme in the Ecologist

Tackling deforestation and the degradation of rainforests was a key discussion point in the recent Copenhagen negotiations, but it’s certainly not a new topic. WEAP laid out a similar framework for dealing with the problem more than thirty years ago…

“Such incentives, it is suggested, could be available if the preservation of tropical forests were seen as part of a wider development project. Within the framework of such a project, the forests could provide collateral for loans to be advanced by international agencies involved in development, for activities that are desirable directly for the economic and other benefits that they might confer to the inhabitants of the areas in which they are set up, and indirectly in that they are precisely those that could best reduce the present pressures on tropical rain forests.

“Alternatively the natural forests would be rented outright by local bodies set up and financed by international agencies…”

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