The world population is now over 7 billion and is increasing.

Forests

Rain forests are being destroyed at the rate of at least 60,000 square kilometres per year! Half the Earth's woodland cover has disappeared since 1950!

Africa alone demolishes almost 5 million acres annually for firewood. In the Ivory Coast the rain forest has diminished from 30 million to 10 million acres in just 25 years - 90% of the timber going to Europe. Without this forest cover it has been found that rain water runs off at an accelerated rate or evaporates.

This is affecting not only the amount of water available for agriculture in the Ivory Coast, but even more so in the already drought-stricken region of Mali and Upper Volta. As the forest disappears in the south, the savanna encroaches from the north. Sadly, the story is being repeated in many countries. Unfortunately, while the genetic base of the world's crops narrows, the means by which this can be corrected i.e. the diversity of wild crop varieties and relatives, are being destroyed.

Human beings have become a major evolutionary force - and while lacking the knowledge to control the biosphere we certainly have the power to change it radically and even destroy it. We have, therefore, a moral obligation to our fellow creatures and future generations to manage it in a way that will preserve as much as possible of its interest and genetic diversity.

Read More: Coastal And Freshwater Systems

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