Richter Documentaries
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Documentaries On:

Can Tropical Rainforests Be Saved?

The first global look at this critical global issue.
A PBS prime time national broadcast.
Written, directed and produced by Robert Richter.

"Dramatic... will keep viewers riveted to the screen."
—Los Angeles Times
"Mind boggling... well worth your time."
—New York Daily News

Save the rainforests! A plea seen and heard everywhere. While tropical rainforests are a part of many regions of the world, virtually all attention has focused on the Amazon. Until now, no documentary has presented a global examination of this critical global question. This documentary circles the planet in search of answers.

Filmed in a dozen rainforested countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America - as well as in Japan, the world's largest importer of tropical rainforest wood. Prime focus is on the human and economic dimensions. Included are tribal people, new settlers, squatters, farmers, loggers, government, industry and environmental leaders.

The documentary depicts why the forests are vanishing, who is responsible, the human and environmental results, the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of protection measures, and what else can be done to save them.

Part 1. Life and death values of rainforests, extent of deforestation, effects on people and environment of Amazon logging, cattle ranching, mining, charcoal making, dams, new settlers. Indonesia's vast transmigration program. Economic pressures for the road linking the Amazon to the Pacific coast and the growing Asia market. Deforestation of Panama, effects on the Panama Canal and the connection to the Amazon highway.
43 minutes

Part 2. Japan's role as major importer of rainforest wood from SE Asia. Tribal people fighting for their forest: the Penans of Sarawak and Batacs of Palawan in the Philippines. "Saving rainforests" through sustainable management. Indonesia's "forests forever" PR campaign. Eucalyptus and other plantation crops in Thailand and Ivory Coast. Industry-backed "social forestry" in the Philippines. 35 minutes

Part 3. Economic assets of standing forests. Debt-for-nature swaps, rainforest parks in Costa Rica. Ecology of saving small forests in Brazil. Population pressures and other human problems in protecting forests in Rwanda, Cameroon, Ivory Coast. Deforestation linked to catastrophic erosion in Madagascar and devastating floods in Thailand. "Extractive reserves" to protect forests and those who survive from them. Panama's Kuna Indians as model of indigenous people saving their own rainforests. 38 minutes

3 parts, total 116 minutes, on one DVD

"...insight for viewers 12 and up...focuses not only on environment and ecological issues but also on human stories behind them. The reasons for all this, Richter says, are elementary: stupidity, greed, overpopulation and money-also known as economics...its dramatic techniques, and the impact of deforestation on rain-forest peoples will keep the youngest viewers riveted to the screen.
–Chicago Tribune"
Study Areas: agriculture, anthropology, business ethics, consumer issues, developing world studies, economic botany, environment, environmental geography, ethnobotany, forestry, globalization, international trade, Japan, political anthropology, population, Third World studies