Forest Conservation Matters
In modern industrial logging, a piece of heavy equipment known as a feller buncher can cut down as much as an acre of forest per hour. Large block clear cuts in the forest are more than just plain ugly, they leave long lasting ecological, social and economic impacts.
Poaching From The Forests
After the clear cutting is complete, it is quite common for developers to extract gravel, or to mine for other mineral resources. Following that, the next step is to carve up of the land into suburban lots, further fracturing the forest. With each step, the forest is stripped of its most basic ecological benefits; habitat, clean water, and carbon sequestration. Essentially, many of the ecological goods and services that are part of a mature forest, are lost — and without proper compensation.
In economics terms, this extraction process is referred to as “externalizing costs”. Actually, it’s more like poaching – taking without paying for the goods or services the forest would otherwise provide.
Slow Forests Are Better Forests
Unfortunately, industrial deforestation and the type of development processes described above result in short term employment by very few workers instead of long term, value-added employment. A short term rotation forest does not generate long term local economic prosperity.
Alternatively, a forest that is slowly and sustainably logged provides longer term employment and ensures that revenues remain in the community. When small mills and local manufacturing operations have access to sustainably harvested fiber, they can create generations of meaningful work for their workers.
Intact Forests Protect Watersheds, Wildlife and Climate Systems
In addition to the economic benefits that an intact forest yields, the ecological benefits are significant and protect all life on our planet. Conversely, clear cutting results in the following impacts to the environment:
- The loss of trees and understory increases the risk of erosion, flooding, and the siltation of creeks and streams
- The fragmentation of large forest eco-systems weakens the health of the remaining trees and accelerates the factors leading to climate change
- Clear-cutting reduces wildlife habitat, especially for wildlife that are dependent upon old growth or mature forests
- As trees are cut and soil subsystems disturbed, decades and even centuries of trapped carbon are released into the atmosphere.
To find out what you can do to support forest conservation visit our Get Involved page.