Deforestation and Silviculture

(Illegal logging for paper industry and forest clearing for Palm oil plantation. TESSO NILO Plantation Riau, Sumatra, Indonesia)

Deforestation: The process of removing a forest to use the land for agriculture or human habitation, or to harvest the trees for lumber.

Benefits:

1. There will be more space for farming.

2. The lumber could be used to build houses, or sold to other countries to gain a profit.

3. The space could be used for civilization. When we remove forests, it gives us far more land to expand our civilization; it makes more room for housing and commercial businesses.

Drawbacks:

1. The forests act as a carbon sink, they absorb CO2 from the air. Without them global warming is accelerated.

2. The forests also produce the oxygen we breathe, and without them there would be far less oxygen in the world.

3. The forests absorb water from the ground, preventing floods. Without the forests, there will be an excess amount of water and it will increase flooding.

4. When the forests are removed, it also removes the habitat of all of the animals in it, contributing to their extinction.

Silviculture: The process of replanting and managing a forest after it has been clear cut.

Benefits:

1. It can allow a forest to regrow after deforestation.

2. It can stop desertification (when drought causes the soil to be blown away by the wind, creating a desert).

Drawbacks:

1. The off cuts, scraps, and stumps caused by deforestation can make it hard for the forest to regrow.

2. When the forestry sector replants, they are focused on a plan of caring for the trees to harvest in the future.

3. Biodiversity is lost because the trees the forestry sector replants are the type they want for lumber; instead of the hundreds of types of trees that you would find in an old-growth forest.

Selective Logging: The process of removing part of a forest (only one or two species of tree).

Benefits:

1. Damage to habitats is mitigated because most of the trees remain.

2. Only the logs that are needed are harvested, allowing for resources to not be wasted.

Drawbacks:

1. As more and more trucks and people move in, it drives mammals out of their habitat.

2. It is a hard form of deforestation to detect because the forest density gets gradually thinned instead of cleared and it will eventually lead to complete deforestation.

3. In forest like the Amazon, where there are at least 35 marketable hardwoods, selective logging removes a lot more than just a small percentage of the trees.

How sustainable is B.C.’s forestry industry?

The statistics show that we are deforesting faster than the forests are regenerating, so if we keep it up at the speed we are, the forestry industry isn’t sustainable. For the forestry industry to be sustainable, we must take into account the speed in which we deforest. If we keep clear cutting, it will lead to many environmental problems, and if we keep replanting trees solely for future harvest, it will lead to decreased biodiversity. Moving forward I think we should take into account the demands on our forests, and then try to protect a certain percentage of them. We could even try to create a system of replanting and harvesting that increases the size of our forests and allows for the environment to not be negatively affected.

Sources:

www.cbc.ca

greengarageblog.org

www.for.gov.bc.ca

news.stanford.edu

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