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Nature

China's Rubber Frenzy Could Cause 'Ecological Credit Crunch'

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A huge increase in China’s demand for rubber is leading to the destruction of vast swathes of the country’s precious old-growth forests, and could cause irreversible environmental damage.

The shocking findings have been revealed in a new study by scientists at the Chinese Academy of Science’s flagship conservation institute, the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG). The team have discovered that China is producing a third more rubber than it was in 2007 to feed its booming automobile and tyre industries, which has led to an astronomical rise in the number of rubber plantations.

According to one of the scientists, “We will soon hit the wall in an ecological credit crunch. This is hardly a viable investment.”

The problem is that rubber trees are extremely thirsty, sucking up water from the soil and drying up streams and wells. Deforestation to make way for rubber plantations also releases huge amounts of carbon.

Ecologists at the institute — itself surrounded by rubber plantations — are seeking to boost their research capacity and play a stronger policy and advocacy role in biodiversity conservation in the region.

Image Credit – Gaetan Lee via flickr on a Creative Commons license




One comment
  1. Uncle B

    Pity mankind can’t find an ecologically friendly way to use his vast technologies to arrive at a comfortable survival lifestyle! We in North America strive towards independent off-grid survival shelters and communities, and are laughed at by the materialists, perhaps we will have the last laugh at the end of the (GRD) great republican depression, when the rest of the world is hungry and cold! A totally solar powered home in the U.S. is now possible, and it supports a reasonable if not comfortable lifestyle! It is time for humanity to define and then create reasonable shelter and food supplies for each and every soul, as well as control the rampant breeding in the U.S. and India as China has done! Rubber for car tyres is not the problem, the source of demand for cars is, a social order run amok and beating the world to death for materialistic reasons is the sick problem advertisers promote, manufacturers pay for, and humans fall for , since no alternative has been promoted as vigorously! We are stuck in a vicious circle of self-destruction, worshiping materialism to the end!

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