The ever-increasing demand by consumers, both domestic and international, for tropical woods, rattan, meat, and other products is putting extreme pressure on tropical forests. They are being cut down heedlessly for wood and wood products, for ranchland cheap beef, and for agricultural land to produce export crops such as coffee, cocoa and bananas (the last a destroyer of vast tracts of land in Central America). This destruction is unnecessary, as many of these products can be supplied elsewhere without cutting down rainforests. For example, much of the demand for wood can be reduced by reducing waste [see #21] and by the utilization of wood from tree plantations, especially in temperate countries. Beef from tropical countries is a wasteful industry. Land for ranches is often deforested by burning, frequently without removing the timber, and is then converted to pasture. Unless these ranches are subsidized, they are not profitable, and since the soil soon becomes depleted, they need considerable inputs of fertilizers in order to maintain forage for cattle. Meat could be more reasonably supplied by ranches in temperate climates, where the land is more suited to grazing. Many products now obtained from rainforests could easily be supplied from other places, or replaced by synthetic products.

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