Rhett Butler – the creator of mongabay.com, a rainforest website, and author of the article that originally prompted me to pose some questions about the idea of “avoided deforestation” in the Burmese scene – has written me a short note which he is happy for me to post to New Mandala.
My main incentive for writing the article on Burma (and a number of other countries) was to spark a discussion on the basic concept of using carbon finance to fund forest conservation and sustainable use of forest resources in developing countries. I chose Burma because it is poor, has a horrendous deforestation rate, and most Americans, rightly or wrongly, think of it as some sort of North Korea without nuclear weapons. I realize that in a place like Burma, or even Ecuador or Argentina, it is unlikely that all or even the majority of deforestation can be stopped for the very reasons cited in the discussion. Further, since Burma is ruled by a military junta that may very well use the funds to further suppress opposition, it is a special case. Maybe more income through carbon finance is actually a bad thing for most Burmese since they won’t see the money? Anyway, my point was to get people talking and also to bring these possibilities, even if remote, to the attention of delegates meeting in Nairobi.
Thanks to Rhett for offering his perspective on this important evolving issue. If there are any other comments from New Mandala readers, please feel free to join the conversation.