STUDY Question 62:
What are the most significant impacts of forest management?
LISTENING STUDY: Some responses reference the ecological
impacts of large-scale industrial forestry while others
highlight the impacts of sustainably managed forests.
and harvesting trees for paper production can cause
a variety of environmental impacts ranging from the
destruction of plant and animal habitat to the degradation
of soil and water quality, which also affects human
populations. - Victoria Mills, Project Manager, Corporate
Partnerships, Environmental Defense
most significant impact of timber management worldwide
is that caused by large clearcuts over large areas,
where forest composition, structure, and function is
drastically changed, often for the very long term. -
Susan Hammond, Executive Director, Silva Forest Foundation
industrial forestry in the U.S. often has substantial
and long-lasting environmental, social, and economic
impacts. Many timber and paper companies' historical
and current practices have degraded water quality, liquidated
much of the land's timber "capital," played a leading
role in bringing many forest species to the brink of
extinction, and/or seriously impacted many other forest
resources. This style of forest management is practiced
on large percentages of public and private forestlands,
especially on lands owned and/or logged by many industrial
wood products companies. Industry and other non-federal
forestlands comprise 73% of the nation's forests, and
often encompass key ecosystems, forest types, and habitat
Today, some U.S. companies
continue to log remaining old growth, eliminate endangered
species' habitats, and replace natural forests with
residential sprawl and ecologically barren tree plantations.
Some companies also create immense clearcuts, and apply
toxic chemicals at excessive and unnecessary levels.
And some also use short timber rotations that increase
negative environmental impacts and fail to maximize
timber production. In forests which have already been
impacted, industrial forest practices are also failing
to restore these forests to more natural conditions.
Equally harmful practices occur in the forests of Canada
and many other temperate and tropical nations -- some
of which are logged to supply U.S. companies. Logging
intact forests also results in net emissions of carbon
dioxide and other "greenhouse" gases that are causing
global climate change. - Daniel Hall, Forest Biodiversity
Program Director, American Lands Alliance
from across the eastern regions have shown that even-aged
management practices favored by the timber and paper
industries, along with the forest roads that support
logging operations, disrupt the natural processes that
sustain healthy forests. Operations that are incompatible
with the maintenance of healthy and sustainable forests
include: large-scale clear-cut harvesting, intensive
site preparation, replacement of site-adapted species
with monocultures of genetically selected "super trees",
increasing use of herbicides to reduce competition with
the industry-favored pine trees, and concentrated use
of heavy equipment. - Biodiversity Project 2003
is an impossible question to answer. What is management?
What is an impact? What is significant? What is most?
Potentially, the most significant impact of forest management
could be the salvation of the planet's terrestrial and
perhaps aquatic ecosystems, or it could be the collapse
of those same systems. Depends on who's doing what,
where, when, and how. - Michael Snyder, Forester
impacts: Sustainable production of solid wood and fiber
used throughout society while maintaining native forest
habitat on millions of acres of land.
Negative impacts: In some regions, loss of old growth
forest, conversion to short- rotation plantations. -
Robert R. Bryan, Forest Ecologist, Maine Audubon
managed forests can be some of the best protectors of
clean water, fertile soil, and animal habitats. However,
poor forestry practices can lead to water pollution,
soil degradation, loss of habitat, and non-productive
lands. - International Paper
- Frank Locantore, Co-op America
are a renewable resource and with sustainable forest
management can provide us with the fiber we need for
paper, building, fuel and other uses. These sustainably
managed forests also provide us with additional benefits
such as enhanced wildlife habitat, increased forest
vigor, recreation opportunities and forest fire prevention.
- Stora Enso
forest industry stands accused of some very serious
crimes against the environment: the extinction of tens
of thousands of species, the deforestation of vast areas
of the earth, and the total and irreversible destruction
of the environment. . . . So let's talk about some of
those problems and whether they're really problems or
just another way of looking at how we live and how we
use our natural resources. . . .
people hate the looks of a recent clearcut. But when
foresters create openings as they harvest the trees,
they do so for a very good reason. The new trees can
grow back much more quickly in full sunlight. It's true
that clearcuts don't look pretty when you see them from
the road or fly over them in a plane, but look closer
and you'll see a new forest taking root. It's younger
and healthy and will provide trees for the next generation.
. . .
This gives rise to the
obvious concern that if we cut the trees down, all those
homes and habitats will be lost and al those species
will die. In recent years we've heard alarmist claims
that up to 50,000 species are disappearing each year,
mainly due to commercial logging. But is this true?
Certainly logging has environmental impacts. When trees
are cut down, some animals are displaced and must move
to other parts of the forest. But as the forest regrows,
the animals begin to return, often in larger numbers.
As surprising as it might sound after years of sensationalism
in the media, to the best of our scientific knowledge
no species has become extinct in North America due to
forestry. . . .
Some people want you to
believe that the ugly appearance of a recently harvested
forest is synonymous with permanent destruction of the
environment and yet the unsightly sea of stumps is not
some nuclear waste or a toxic discharge. It's actually
100% organics and will soon grow back into a beautiful
new forest again. The way we think the land should look
often has more to do with personal and social values
than anything to do with biodiversity or science. We
tend to idealize nature, as if there is some perfect
state that is exactly right for a given piece of land.
There are actually thousands of combinations of species
at all different stages of forest growth that are perfectly
natural and sustainable in their own right. - Transcript
from Trees Are the Answer, video hosted by Dr.
Patrick Moore, Green Spirit, 2001