Harvesting sustainable resources in the rainforest may well be the only real solution in saving it from complete destruction. While there has been a national growing awareness and public outcry against rainforest destruction, the destruction of our Earth's remaining rainforests has actually increased since 1992 and programs geared to raising consciousness about the problems has made little impact. Timber harvesting and subsistence cropping by poor settlers and squatters are the leading causes of rainforest destruction. Unbelievably, large multi-national timber companies pay only $.60 to $3.00 per acre for the right to log timber on rainforest land and leave behind a wake of destruction which virtually destroys the many other sustainable resources and products the rainforest provides. It is a sad and simple fact that the rainforests are being destroyed for the profits they yield . Yet how can we in rich developed nations tell poor developing tropical countries that they cannot exploit their resources to service their debts and feed their people when our own economies have been built on the extensive exploitation of our own natural resources?
The key to turning this tide of destruction lies in providing long-term, economically viable alternatives to the current destructive exploitation of the rainforests. Sustainable, non-destructive harvesting of the riches contained in the rainforests of the world is vital to the on-going health of our world and is truly the answer. Not only is it environmentally sound, but sustainable harvesting of rainforest plants makes more economic sense than the alternatives. It is estimated that sustainable harvesting of one acre of Peruvian Amazon rainforest can produce over $2400 annually. In contrast, clear-cutting for timber nets only $400 per acre and cattle grazing earns only $60 per acre. The only solution is to offer these countries real and viable alternative methods and markets of exploiting their resources in sustainable programs which will enable them to protect their resources for future generations and for long-term profits and gains. This isn't as hard as it sounds. The rainforest actually produces a wealth of renewable and sustainable resources - not just timber. These include important medicinal plants used for centuries by rainforest inhabitants, nuts, fruits, oils, fibers, and other resources like chocolate, rubber and chicle.
Since it's inception in 1995, Raintree has been the leader in creating a world market for the important medicinal plants of the Amazon Rainforest. Today, millions of acres of government owned, privately held, NGO controlled, and Indian demarcated lands in the Amazon are demonstrating that wild-harvesting medicinal plants on rainforest land provides greater income and profits to the land owner and country than any other unsustainable land usage. Medicinal plant harvesting programs competes successfully and directly with other interests in the rainforest like timber logging and results in higher profits for the land while still preserving its biodiversity instead of destroying it. This IS the economic incentive and encouragement necessary to protect the rainforest for future generations and it IS working to protect rainforest lands today.
Raintree Nutrition, Inc., has been involved in researching, developing, importing
and marketing non-timber rainforest products with special emphasis on the important medicinal
plants of the Amazon Rainforest. From 1996 to 2012, Raintree Nutrition, Inc. sold the rainforest herbal supplements shown here. These products and proprietary formulas were developed by Leslie Taylor, President and managing director of Raintree Nutrition, Inc.. Ms. Taylor has been a leader in the industry in educating people about these powerful medicinal plants of the Amazon and she has actually welcomed competition and encouraged other companies to sell them and use them in other supplement products. As more and more companies began sourcing rainforest plants for their products, more rainforest lands were utilized for these harvesting programs that competed with other unsustainable uses.
However, in 2012, Ms. Taylor decided to close down Raintree Nutrition, Inc. and to stop selling any rainforest herbal products. Regulations enforced by the FDA have progessively prohibited free speech about the value and benefits of herbal supplements, factual information about independently published clinical research, as well as what to take them for and how to use them. As long as Raintree Nutrition was selling herbal supplements, Ms. Taylor was limited and prohibited in what she could actually say about them. Ms. Taylor decided that the wealth of factual and truthful information about these important plants and formulas was more important than selling products and this factual information needed to stay widely available to continue to help people. Raintree Nutrition, Inc. officially closed and ceased selling products on December 21, 2012. Ms. Taylor then freely shared all of her proprietary formulas by posting them on Raintree website so that anyone and everyone can make them and use them. All of the factual research and documentation about these plants have been reinstated on these product pages (previously removed by FDA demand) and linked back to the extensive Tropical Plant Database for further information (also previously removed by FDA demand).
Since 1995, Leslie Taylor has been working with indigenous tribal healers and shamans as well as rainforest community herbal healers called curanderos and other natural health practitioners, herbalists and researchers in South American cities, to target potential plants which have important medicinal values and benefits. Worldwide document gathering and literature searches compile and compare what other ethnobotanists, botanists, and researchers have discovered and tested about the properties, uses, and effectiveness of the plants. All of this research information can be found freely accessible in the Tropical Plant Database. This extensive database represents 17 years of research on the important medicinal plants of the Amazon and is one of the most accessed online resources on the subject with tens of thousands of visitors monthly. When the FDA mandated that the Tropical Plant Database must be removed from the Raintree Nutrition, Inc. website, Ms. Taylor decided that her own personal profits gained from selling rainforest herbal supplements were far less important than keeping this factual indepth documentation freely accessible to all.
In her work with the indigenous rainforest Indian tribes, shamans, local healers and rural herbal doctors throughout the Amazon, Ms. Taylor has learned and documented their extensive medical plant knowledge. Her mission has always been to publicize and publish this indigenous knowledge where it can be shared and used by all - even among the indigenous people themselves. More importantly, publishing this type of information legally puts this important knowledge into the public purview so that it cannot be patented or exploited by any single company. If the knowledge is already public knowledge - then it cannot be patented for the sole profits of a few. Ms. Taylor's published books, Herbal Secrets of the Rainforest, and The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs as well as the Tropical Plant Database have been used at least 4 times in the past and will be used countless times in the future as reason to deny U.S. plant use patents from being filed on tropical rainforest plants. We are also proud to be a collaboration partner with TEK*PAD (Traditional Ecological Knowledge Prior Art Database) - an index and search engine of existing Internet-based, public domain documentation concerning indigenous knowledge and plant species uses.
In this manner, not only is the knowledge freely shared and accessible to all, but profitable global markets are created for these highly effective natural medicinal plants. The indigenous people of the rainforest profit in the harvesting of these beneficial plants to meet this demand, and governments and local companies benefit from the jobs, income and profits derived from the processing, transportation and exportation of these rainforest plants around the world - freely without limitations. Lastly, the rest of the world benefits from the amazing healing properties and abilities of these powerful medicinal plants which can positively effect their health as well as positively affect the health and continuance of the rainforest itself. This truly represents a free and open global economic strategy that everyone can take part in and why it does make a difference in preserving our remaining rainforests of the world.