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Trees for Healthcare

September 15, 2008

On the island of Borneo, impoverished families often turn to illegal rainforest logging to pay for healthcare. But a new project trades medical services for rainforest protection.


Saving the rainforest with healthcare….I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Imagine having to choose between healthcare for your child and buying food. That’s a reality for many people on the island of Borneo. To pay off their debts, many turn to illegal logging in one of the world’s most important tropical rainforests in Indonesia’s Gunung Palung National Park. But an innovative new project, called Health in Harmony, trades healthcare services for rainforest conservation by local people. Dr. Kinari Webb is the founder.

DR. KINARI WEBB (Health in Harmony):
I’m here, because I know that the health of the whole planet, is dependent on the health of the environment.

The project runs an open-access clinic at the edge of the rainforest. And when entire communities stop illegal logging, they receive healthcare incentives. The project also trains locals in reforestation to replace illegal logging jobs. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.