Today we face many grave environmental issues: food crises, mainly in developing countries, due to explosive increase in population; global warming owing to excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; the heat island phenomenon produced by heat discharged by cars and from office buildings; depletion of the ozone layer; expansion of deserts; and catastrophic flooding in tropical regions due to rapid deforestation - to name only the most urgent ones. In this, the twenty-first century, our global environment continues to deteriorate rapidly, and human beings are now exposed to the possibility of extinction. The loss of forests in tropical regions in particular is extreme.

At the United Nations Forest Forum held in Geneva May 26, 2003, Secretary General, Koffi Annan announced that forested areas in tropical regions destroyed by illegal deforestation amounted to 940,000 km2 and that world-wide, the economic loss caused by deforestation equaled 5 billion US dollars. In Southeast Asia forests continue to be lost by slash-and-burn agriculture, and there is large-scale deforestation in South America due to the harvest of coca leaves, the source of cocaine. Forest areas lost in the course of a single year therefore are enormous. The main reasons for deforestation are closely related to the poverty of peoples living in tropical forests and in mountain villages.

TGG was established with far-reaching vision and the objective of planting great numbers of trees to save the earth and its people from environmental disasters. In conventional forest industries, reforestation has been little more than a catch phrase, with no long-range view of benefit to the global environment. Moreover, there has been little consideration of the unique ecological environments of plantations and the regional cultures of people who live adjacent to plantations. The actual purpose of reforestation, as practiced in industrialized countries, has been economic gain from the razing of mature trees.

Since World War II, advanced nations have undergone rapid economic development and have imported most of the wood they needed from developing countries with tropical rainforests. Planting of imported tree species (for example, Eucalyptus) which are not indigenous to Southeast Asia also has contributed to the destruction of traditional ecosystems - local forests have been destroyed, and the communal cultures associated with those forests have collapsed. The values embraced by developing nations that undertook economic development by adopting modern civilization have brought poverty to countries which have been forest treasure houses. In short, the apparent prosperity and abundance seen in developing countries have come at the sacrifice of indigenous ways of life and the natural environment. People in the tropics have been deprived of the true happiness they had when they coexisted with nature and enjoyed its blessings.

Tropical zones have become economic colonies of advanced nations, developing countries must take responsibility for this and work to restore coexistence with the natural environment. The recent capitalistic economies of these counties have been based on "pursuit of profit", the major classical capitalistic value since Adam Smith. In the twentieth century, peoples of developing countries zealously sought wealth. As a result, we are left with negative world heritages that include the worst human massacres in history and destruction of our global environment. We all need to realize this and take it seriously.

We in TGG believe that economies based solely on the pursuit of profit must end and that economic activities related to the purification and restoration of the global environment are essential for the happiness and peace of humankind. Therefore, reforestation based solely on gaining profit from tree felling, which consequently destroys the environment, must be avoided. Reforestation, in which trees are allowed to fix and accumulate carbon dioxide over a long period and in which the ecosystems and environments of Southeast Asia are restored, therefore is practiced. We emphasize forest conservation and are doing our best to help solve the problem of global warming by promoting fixation of atmospheric carbon dioxide through tree photosynthesis.

Our type of reforestation is based on more than economic benefits from the felling of trees. We use intercropping and the planting of valuable trees, such as fruit trees, to produce disposable income. In this way, reforested areas can be protected from illegal lumbering and slash-and burn agriculture, people can be helped to become free of poverty, and regional cultures, in which humans coexist with nature, can be re-established. Our goal is to spread this reforestation philosophy throughout the world and to change the idea that reforestation is only to obtain lumber and wood pulp.

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Copyright 2003 Tokai Global Greening Co., Ltd.