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table of contents   
Matrix of Life
Plant in Peril
In 1950 there were 2.5 billion people on the planet. Today there are six billion, and by 2050 we will have three billion more. Already some fifty percent of the world population is malnourished, and some four million children starve to death each year.

The problems are especially urgent in developing countries, where the vast majority of biological diversity is found. Tropical forests are being cleared in response to rapid population growth and industrial development, leading to escalating pressures on fragile ecosystems.

Additional pressure comes from the global economy. The United States, with 4.5 percent of the world's population, benefits from 25 percent of the world economy. In contrast, developing countries have 80 percent of the world's population and benefit from less than 15 percent of the world's economy, with many people living in extreme poverty on less than $1 a day.

Clearly, conservation efforts can succeed in the tropics only if they balance protection of the planet with human health and prosperity.

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Text and photos from "The Unseen Garden" available from MBG Press.
 
 
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