In the early 1980's, people feared that without intervention, the rain forest in Brazil would have been completely gone by the turn of the century. Well, the turn of the century came and went, as here it still is. This should, very well the nature of an "emergent future." Factors, including period of debt that Brazil's militant government experienced slow the growth. It is very possible that the "over-logging" of the forest was, itself th cause for this debt and subsequent reduction.
I think a lot of the fears about the rain forest inflate the statics. They act on the assumption the rate current rate will continue until the loggers drive themselves into the ground, as though they are blindly going to go forth with the same amount of logging always dispute cost or benefit.
There is a lot of talk to "act now" in fixing this problem. There are people telling the Brazilian government what to do with their own property, which is inconsistent with liberty. If some people highly value the rain forest and think it is going to go away, despite it's slowing in depletion, they need to pool their resources and buy parts of it. If they value it more than the brazilians value it's using, then they will get the forest. If it would truly cause an externality on other countries for it to be gone, then nations could buy portions of the forest, to keep it around for research.