In response to your editorial "A Sign of Hope for Brazil's Masses" (Dec. 18):
I applaud The Times for calling attention to the late Chico Mendes' values and the need for us to be "responsible stewards of an irreplaceable natural resource."
As Americans, we will play a key role in whether Earth's remaining tropical rain forests, which contain 50% all known plant and animal species, will be saved or destroyed. The United States is a major importer of products made from wood logged from the tropical rain forests.
Less than 1% of tropical timber is harvested on a sustainable basis. The other 99% is clear-cut and leaves an irreparably damaged environment. Once a tropical rain forest is denuded, the heavy rainfall usually turns it into a highly eroded desert. That's why Rainforest Action Network is urging a boycott of all products produced from tropical timber that are not from ecologically sustainable sources.
PAM WELLNER, Director, Tropical Timber Campaign Rainforest Action Network, San Francisco