Are indigenous tribes the perpetrators (YES) or victims (NO) of large-scale deforestation in developing nations?

Asked by: Diqiucun_Cunmin
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  • They are victims.

    It is laughable that the logging industry has been portraying the slash-and-burn methods practised by indigenous tribes as the true culprit behind deforestation. Slash-and-burn only affects a small area of the forest; in fact, starting small fires on a small plot of land is not only not destructive to the forest, but beneficial to the ecosystem. The shifting cultivators were in harmony with the jungle as they gave the land sufficient time for fallowing before returning to it; by the time they return, the land has regenerated and regained its soil fertility and ecological vibrancy. Also, they practise polyculture, unlike the cash crop plantations and suchlike, and the soil structure is much better retained. Plus they just aren't in large scale, so it's easy for the clearing to return to its original state.

    The reason why shifting cultivation has recently become a menace to the forest is precisely because of logging. As the area of the forest decreases, they inevitably have fewer lands to exploit, and are forced to shorten the fallowing period. This does not allow enough time for soil fertility to replenish. However, the culprits are not the tribes but the loggers who led to the shrink in the canopy in the first place.

    Indigenous tribes have also been the victims of deforestation in other aspects. Some of them still practise hunting-gathering and fishing, and most of them rely on the poisons and medicines provided by the forest and guess what? The reduction in biodiversity caused by logging is causing their food source to deplete.

    As Westerners enter the forests, they are also bringing their exotic diseases and cultural values to the forests. The tribes are not immune to those diseases and contract such illnesses in large numbers. Moreover, as they are forcefully relocated from their homelands, they are forced to abandon certain cultural customs and traditions, and lose their knowledge of the jungle. In certain African countries, indigenous tribes have even been massacred for the sake of lumbering. It is an outrage. The indigenous tribes are not the perpetrators of forest destruction, but the victims!

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Vox_Veritas says2015-04-26T19:33:32.377
To be fair about it, probably both the loggers and the natives are contributors to deforestation. I mean, probably many natives actively work logging jobs or perhaps even tribes deforest their own land for the lumber money.