Deforestation in Cuba.

Essay by shortyrozeCollege, UndergraduateA-, November 2005

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Centuries prior to the ruling of the Castro government, in the 16th century

precisely, 90 percent of Cuba was covered with forests. Agriculture Ministry officials in

Cuba revealed that the Castro government, in the last for decades, had sown 1.24

million acres of trees, of which were mainly derived from the mountainous zones of the

Sierra Maestra, Escambray, and Sierra de los Organos. This reduced Cuba's forest

cover to 53 percent and by 1960 it was down by 13.5 percent. Ultimately, mining,

farming, sugar planting, supplying timber and setting up cattle ranches, demolished

Cuba's forests over the centuries.

Deforestation, in any case, is both detrimental to the environment and to the

economy of Cuba. Forest products are extremely important to the economical well-being

of Cuba because they play a primary role in the production of tobacco, sugar, and citrus

fruits, a few of the island's main exports, as well as in construction and electrical and

telephone services.

Above all, forests play a crucial role in the protection and

conservation of Cuba's natural resources and their contribution to improving the

environment as a whole.

In Cuba, there are approximately 40,000 persons who are employed in the

forest sector, which includes 1,200 professionals, 2,000 technicians, and 70 researchers,

to name a few. Since forests are a source of long-term employment, particularly in rural

communities, many people who work in the forest sector, who rely on forests as their

main source of income, find themselves facing the possibility of unemployment with the

onset of deforestation.

Currently, several initiatives are being undertaken to improve the issue of

deforestation. Current initiatives include a joint initiative of the Cuban and Canadian

governments as part of their cooperation program called the Institutional Strengthening

of the Cuban Forest Service...