National Geographic : 1990 Sep
Can abat world? Believe it or not, yes. SBecause in addition to controlling vast numbers of insect pests and pollinating many of the world's most valuable plants, bats are responsible forupto95%ofthe seed dispersal essential to regeneration of tropical rain forests. And without rain forests, the world's en tire ecological balance would be destroyed. However, due to people's fears and misconceptions, bats are being randomly and brutally exterminated. Many valuable species are endangered or already extinct. Bat Conservation International (BCI) was founded to educate people worldwide about these intelligent, useful mammals. As a result, many important bat populations have been protected. But much more needs to be done. And BCI needs additional fund ing to implement many of its conservation projects. Please help BCI by becoming a member and making a donation. (As a BCI member you'll receive our quarterly publication, Bats.) Please send your check or money order as soon as possible. The bats' survival-and possibly your grandchildren's-depends on it. Bat Conservation International P.O. Box 162603, Austin, TX 78716 Telephone: 512-327-9721 FROM THE EDITOR Old-Growth Forests: The Good News and the Bad T HIS YEAR Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks both celebrate their 100th birth days, events intimately connected with the Society's own history. As early as May 1899, nine years after the parks were born, we ran our first story on the redwoods, citing wholesale logging of irreplaceable groves. Seventeen years later the National Geographic Society contributed $20,000 toward their protection, then a substantial sum, when a congressional appropriation for the redwoods had fallen short of the goal. In the 1960s the Society participated in a success ful campaign to establish Redwood National Park in California, preserving additional stands of the great trees for all time. Yet today the redwoods and other old trees continue to fall to the chain saw, a disturbing fact reported by Assistant Editor Rowe Find ley and staff photographer James P. Blair in the article starting on page 106, "Will We Save Our Own?" Now and then someone asks, "How can you preach conservation when the NATIONAL GEO GRAPHIC magazine consumes hundreds of tons of paper a month?" The answer is it doesn't; it consumes thousands of tons a month-4,500 tons per issue, or 54,000 tons of paper a year. That adds up to 783,000 medium-size trees about 1,800 acres of forest. The good news is that none of that forest is virgin timber. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC paper comes either from tree farms or from second and third-growth stands that are commercially owned and managed. In fact, our country's overall timber supplies are in good shape. We have more wooded acres in the eastern United States, for exam ple, than existed a century ago. With new and enlightened forestry techniques we can con tinue to have ample supplies of wood as well as sustained work in the woods. What we can't have is the destruction of priceless old-growth forests that support unique plant and animal life and that, once cut, can never be replaced. The stakes are literally as high as the red woods.