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December 2014

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Forestry Sustainability: An Argument for Management

Written by , Posted in Heat, Power, Shelter, Sustainability, Technology

Forestry Sustainability: An Argument for Management

In the volley of arrows, (made of wood by the way) many people have asked, why do we have to have the forestry industry at all? Why can’t we just let the trees live by themselves in the forest. The trees do great things for us and we shouldn’t be destroying that heritage.

Aside from the important truth that we need wood and paper products both here and abroad and the vast number of jobs in the forestry industry, here’s the thing: Trees die. They die naturally from age and they die from more external forces. No, I don’t mean murder. I mean by fire in a blaze of glory and by insects burrowing into their hearts and stopping them cold.

I’ve spoken about managed forests or plantations before, but I wanted to return to them to highlight their benefits. A well managed forest creates buffer zones so bugs and fires can’t leap through the forest and destroy everything. These plantations won’t be populated with mono-cultures so the bugs can’t wipe out the entire forest with their voracious appetites for Pine Soup or Elm steaks. These varieties will be spaced out so the roots will establish deep in the ground creating a robust crop to fend off the four cardinal winds.

Sometimes in dire straits, the forest management will deliberately set fires, hence the term fighting fire with fire. While there is a good amount of planting done, the forest itself is robust at doing that itself by hiding seeds under the fire or the biomass trash left by the logging processor. There are young saplings left when the processor goes by so the forest is continually growing up with carbon dioxide breathing goodness.

A well managed forest isn’t left to its own devices because humanity arrived. We can’t get in the time machine and make the new world unattainable. We are here. Our goal can’t be to stop forest management. Our goal should be to make it a more sustainable process. We should establish a true management style with honest government oversight as opposed to letting the larger corporations establish the rules that fit their pocketbooks.

We SHOULD stop the pillagers, but don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Step up with options so we can all live together because there isn’t another earth we can go to just yet.

In Canada we have massive swaths of acreage that can never be used for other purposes. The ground will appear like scorched earth for years because no one took care of it. Instead we could be planting massive plantations with trees of all kinds. We could be creating jobs for planting and harvesting transitioning the art of forestry into farming.

Not convinced? Wondering why I would suggest it when it will take decades if not centuries to grow theses trees enough to be harvested? Because like everything in this life, we don’t do it for ourselves, but for our children.