Is Asia doing a good job conserving their trees?



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    Asia is a very big continent, and consequently there are a great number of different programs and different stories regarding forest conservation. In Indonesia, for example, where most forestland is owned by families and individuals, the government and nonprofit organizations have tried to increase personal investment in tree planting as a way to increase an individual’s stake in land rights, resulting in a partial restoration of forests. In Vietnam, a Communist country, state ownership of land has gradually been giving way to a more privatized system where long-term cultivation rights have been granted to farmers, which has helped regenerate forest environments. Nepal is experimenting with a mix of programs to stimulate forest management by both private businesses and communal quasi-public bodies. In some Asian nations, however, the situation is much different. Burma (Myanmar), which is ruled by a dictatorial military regime, recently mandated a crash conversion to biofuels which necessitated planting large acreage of new trees. While the reforestation is impressive, it has come at the cost of severe human rights abuses such as forced labor and land confiscations. There is no one central system of forestry conservation in Asia, and like everywhere else, in some places efforts are very successful while others still have a long way to go.

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