Tropical Forests, International Jungle: The Underside of Global Ecopolitics

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Marie-Claude Smouts looks at the issue of rain forest depletion and global environmental policies. Beginning with how the issue entered the world stage in the 1980s despite alarms over the issue in the 1950s, Tropical Forests, International Jungle explores the complexities of what are tropical forests, what role they play not only in environmentalism but in trade, health care, and almost every facet of natural and social life for those living there and beyond. Although for most in the developed world tropical forests have gained a status of part of our world heritage, these forests are not really part of the global commons or a global public good. Developing nations maintain control over the forests within their borders and often use the forests as they see fit. The international system for mediating the issue is a fractured group of non-governmental organizations and transnational networks, often with competing views of how to manage tropical forests. Despite this seemingly grim picture, Smouts is optimistic. A changing world view toward forest depletion is influencing countries both North and South. Although forests will be used commercially, it is a dynamic process that should maintain them far into the future.