(1)It is the established policy of the United States to support and seek protection of tropical forests around the world.
(2)Tropical forests provide a wide range of benefits to humankind by—
(A)harboring a major share of the Earth’s biological and terrestrial resources, which are the basis for developing pharmaceutical products and revitalizing agricultural crops;
(B)playing a critical role as carbon sinks in reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, thus moderating potential global climate change; and
(C)regulating hydrological cycles on which far-flung agricultural and coastal resources depend.
(3)International negotiations and assistance programs to conserve forest resources have proliferated over the past decade, but the rapid rate of tropical deforestation continues unabated.
(4)Developing countries with urgent needs for investment and capital for development have allocated a significant amount of their forests to logging concessions.
(5)Poverty and economic pressures on the populations of developing countries have, over time, resulted in clearing of vast areas of forest for conversion to agriculture, which is often unsustainable in the poor soils underlying tropical forests.
(6)Debt reduction can reduce economic pressures on developing countries and result in increased protection for tropical forests.
(7)Finding economic benefits to local communities from sustainable uses of tropical forests is critical to the protection of tropical forests.
The purposes of this subchapter are—
(1)to recognize the values received by United States citizens from protection of tropical forests;
(2)to facilitate greater protection of tropical forests (and to give priority to protecting tropical forests with the highest levels of biodiversity and under the most severe threat) by providing for the alleviation of debt in countries where tropical forests are located, thus allowing the use of additional resources to protect these critical resources and reduce economic pressures that have led to deforestation;
(3)to ensure that resources freed from debt in such countries are targeted to protection of tropical forests and their associated values; and
(4)to rechannel existing resources to facilitate the protection of tropical forests.
For short title of this subchapter as the “Tropical Forest Conservation Act of 1998”, see section 801 ofPub. L. 87–195, set out as a note under section
2151 of this title.
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