In some countries the social system displaces populations. For instance, poor farmers may lose their land to large agricultural interests, mining concerns, road building, and other ventures over which they have no control. Many of them are thus forced to go into the forest to survive. Uncertain land tenure and property rights systems also lead to the displacement of small farmers, as they may not be able to establish ownership of their land. In many tropical countries, also, societies are changing rapidly and traditional cultures are being homogenized into the global mainstream. Traditional or indigenous cultures have low populations and often have evolved life styles amenable with resource conservation. Although they use the resources of their environment, they generally do so sustainably and not destructively. As they are uprooted and incorporated into more urban environments, they lose the connection with nature and the intimate knowledge of the forest which previously had permitted their survival (and the survival of the forest). The most rapidly-changing or colonizing cultures tend to be the most destructive, since they are moving into uncharted territory (literally and figuratively) and have no intimate connection with their new landscape. They have not developed mechanisms for living comfortably and sustainably in their new environments. Poor, transitional cultures place little value on protection of nature, and wealthier, rapidly-changing societies also frequently seem to be uninterested in it, particularly if the “nature” is far distant.

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