Sustainability in a nutshell

Silvertown, Jonathan (2004). Sustainability in a nutshell. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 19(6) pp. 276–278.



Sustainable exploitation is widely advocated as a strategy for reconciling economic pressures upon natural habitats with nature conservation. Two recent papers examine different aspects of the sustainability of the nut harvest on wild populations of Brazil nut trees Bertholletia excelsa in Amazonia. Peres et al. find that many populations of the Brazil nut tree lack juvenile trees and are not regenerating. In a socioeconomic study, Escobal and Aldana find that nut-gathering provides insufficient income on its own to support nut-gatherers and that their other income-raising activities damage the forest. The existence of a market for rainforest products is, therefore, not sufficient on its own to prevent habitat destruction or the overexploitation of the resource and a more sophisticated approach to sustainability is required. Development of a market in ethically traded Brazil nuts might be one solution.

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