There is some evidence that the Mayan people, 3000 years ago, did practice limited environmental conservation. According to a paper published in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science, the Maya practised active forest conservation, selectively chopping certain wood to ensure sustainability. David Lentz, one of the researchers involved, stated that
“the Maya were deliberately conserving forest resources…Their deliberate conservation practices can be observed in the wood they used for construction and this observation is reinforced by the pollen record.”
One society that began an environmental conservation policy was Japan under the Edo shogunate in 1666. At that time, people used greater amounts of wood than ever before for ships, firewood, and buildings. This meant that deforestation was widespread, causing large amounts of erosion. In order to prevent the deforestation from getting worse, the shogunate instituted restrictions on cutting down wood, began a tree planting program, and encouraged the study of forest management. This program was a success, but the forests were not fully restored until the early 20th century.
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