Demand for meat causes war against the rainforests

Jo Stewart wrote a very nice article about trees. She mentioned; “Trees give us food and drink. They give us shelter and medicine to cure our ailments.”

I guess we could take that a step further and say they also give us our consistent climate and clean air we breath. They are the lungs of the planet. They help sustain our entire living environment. Unfortunately, we are cutting down enormous areas of trees, namely rainforests, to raise cattle all over the world. Maybe when we finally realize the unsustainability of our insatiable appetite for meat, we might start respecting the land of the trees (forests).

From Guanacaste, Costa Rica, all the way up the Pacific Coast to Mexico, 97 percent of the rainforests have been cut down mainly to raise cattle. The Caribbean side, as well, has had huge areas of rainforest cut down for the same reason.

Instead of hugging the trees as mentioned in the article, we could be doing millions of trees and our rainforests a favor and ourselves and consume less cow flesh and help alleviate the war against rainforests we humans have launched.

Jo emphasized the incredible fig tree. There are over 900 species of fig trees, and all of their fruit is edible. There are about 80 species just in Costa Rica. They provide thousands of species food and shelter. Fig trees are only pollinated by wasps and many fig trees are only pollinated by one species of wasp, and that wasp only lives off of that individual species of fig tree.

The ficus Jo mentioned, ficus religiosa is not native to the Americas (New World). I haven’t ever seen that species here in Costa Rica. I have seen strangler figs here for example, ficus aureus, which resemble ficus religiosa and a couple others.

The old wives tale mentioned by the old Tico about the leaves being medicinal for animals is generally not the case. it has a latex sap that animals don’t care to eat. The fruits are what are eaten by a myriad of species.

Thanks, Jo, for the uplifting article.
Henry Kantrowitz
interpretive naturalist
Punta Leona

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