ClearCutting Of Forests

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Clear-Cutting Of Forests- Essay, Research Paper

Clear-Cutting of Forests-

In the past three decades humans has cleared over half the

Earth s original forests. The only countries remaining that still

have significant areas of original forests are Russia, Brazil, and

Canada (Staff. 1997). Such devastation has occurred over these few

years as a result of clear-cut logging being practiced all around the

world. First, Loggers allow no time for re-forestation. In brief,

trees are being cut down faster than they can be re-planted. Second,

clear-cutting speeds up erosion and causes landslides, which are

mostly caused from road building and use. Third, BC makes up for 74%

of Canada s land dwelling mammals and 70% of breeding birds (Staff.

1997). Therefore in order to protect these animals, clear-cutting

must cease. Clear-cut logging in British Columbia must be abolished.

Large scale clear-cutting must be halted to allow people to

re-plant forests. Reforestation is happening in BC, but not fast

enough. Twelve years ago Mount Paxton was completely cleared of all

trees and shrubs that grew there (Hamilton, G. 1997, October 14), not

one tree was missed. Mistake piled upon mistake when Mount Paxton was

logged . Says environmentalist, Mark Haddock, of Forest Policy Watch.

Interfor [logging company that cleared Mount Paxton] originally cut

the mid-zone, and when a buffer strip along the ocean began to blow

down, the forest service had the strip logged. Then a slash fire got

out of control and burned the top. Under the rules of the day, the

forest service demanded Interfor then log the rest, despite two

appeals by the company that the slope was steep, rocky and unsafe to

work on. Fallers had to be lowered on ropes to cut the 40-metre-tall

trees. Is it any wonder rains washed the exposed soils away?

(Hamilton, G. 1997, October 14)

Afterwards, no one bothered to re-plant on Mount Paxton. It s

coastal side, exposed to wind and rain, remains bare to this very day.

It was an ecological disaster, Gordon Hamilton recalls: As our

helicopter approached Mount Paxton from the Pacific, we first saw the

bare summit, an old logging road visible across its face like a still

fresh scar. Landslides swept downward from [logging] roads like

tears. Then we saw rebirth on the lower slope, where the second

growth already forms a thick blanket of green. When we landed there,

on the remnant of an old logging road, the new forest on either side

was almost impenetrable. Later on the summit, we noticed

re-forestation has been less successful. Slacco [Ric Slacco, Forest

Products chief forester] noted strong incremental growth on the

shorter and less numerous trees, a positive sign. The summit will

recover, he forecast. Haddock said he saw signs that much of the thin

soil had washed downhill. (Hamilton, G. 1997, October 14)

Haddock states that While it is true trees are returning, it

will be centuries before a forest as biologically rich as the old one

returns on Mount Paxton (Hamilton, G. 1997, October 14). Despite

the new growth, the mountain still stands as a legacy of everything

wrong with the way BC s forests were logged as recently as a decade

ago. It also offers a graphic warning of the hazards of logging on

steep coastal slopes where as much as seven meters of rain a year can

wreak havoc on the terrain. (Hamilton, G. 1997, October 14). For

supposed mistakes, like Mount Paxton, to never re-occur, clear-cut

logging must end.

Clear-cutting in BC harms environmental features. Because of

total logging, all the trees have been harvested, thus resulting in

land slides. The roots of the giant tree s rot and cause instability

in the soil. This rotting of the roots can cause slides as big as

three hectares that can cause devastation to nearby villages, pollute

rivers, and clear all the soil off steeper parts of mountains making

it impossible for trees to grow. A great contributor to this vast

number of mudslides, are logging roads. The tire ruts from logging

trucks in these roads get so deep that they can become the main

waterway replacing the ditches at the side of the road, thus resulting

in more erosion. Faced with a shortage of logging approvals,

companies are building roads and logging on them within a matter of

months, before the roads have a chance to stabilize. (Hamilton, G.

1997, October 16). These premature roads, referred to as green

roads , often cannot withstand heavy equipment rumbling over them

without turning into a sea of mud, which ultimately makes its way to

streams. If salmon happen to be nearby, the silt can smother spawning

beds. Chilliwack Forest District manager, Jerry Kennah, had this to

say on the issue of green roads: When you are forced to be logging on

a road that s been built within the last six to eight months, you can

get this type of activity [muddy roads]. If we had more time, had the

plans in place, had everything approved and have the roads built 18

months in advance, you wouldn t get this. But unfortunately, in some

situations, companies are waiting for the next permit to come out or

else their fallers are through next week. They go home unless we get

something out of the office for them. (Hamilton, G. 1997, October


Jack Munro, chair of the pro-industry Forest Alliance of BC

voiced It shouldn t be happening [using green roads]. The roads need

at least two years to settle (Hamilton, G. 1997, October 16). If

contractors know they are building a road that will be in use very

soon after construction, they can take steps to ensure sediments don t

float to the surface and wash into streams. Forest Products chief

forester, Ric Slacco expresses his feelings about a road building

technique called side-casting: This is wrong. It shouldn t have

happened, and it is not something we would condone as an acceptable

practice . Side-casting is a practice where excavated material is

simply cast over the side of the mountain, where its weight can

greatly lead to slope failure. Streams, no longer regulated by the

forest cover, grow in power, washing out everything but the largest

rocks from their beds. Side slopes cave in, adding to the damage.

(Hamilton, G. 1997, October 14). For these environmental features to

be preserved, clear-cut logging must end.

The environmental features that are ruined are also the homes

of the birds, animals, and insects that live in the forests.

Clear-cutting must cease to protect animals in BC. In the Nahmint

Valley, 20kms west of Port Alberny, many species of insects and

animals lose their food and homes. Clear-cutting has caused forests

to become so shrunken that creatures that before were thriving, are

now being nominated for the endangered species list. Heavy logging

[and hunting] have eliminated two of six elk subspecies; others have

been stressed almost to extinction. Only a fraction of virgin forests

on public lands in the United States and Canada is wholly protected.

A view that timber cutting favors such animals by increasing shrubs

and foliage along forest edges has drawn increasing challenges from

researchers. Recent studies indicate that some species, such as the

Roosevelt elk and Black-tailed deer, need the tempering microclimate

of old growth to get through summers heat and winters cold. (Findley,

R. 1990, pg.108).

An endangered bird of prey, the goshawk, was found recently to

have been inhabiting an area in the Nahmint Valley, and may become

extinct if the area continues to be cleared. According to Smith It s

the classic example of science versus politics. We have science that

tells us we have to do certain things to protect wildlife and then we

have politics that says it must not impact the rate of cut because the

forest industry is generating revenue for the government . (Hamilton,

G. 1997, October 15). Water contaminated from the mud slides

endangers the lives of salmon, and steelhead trout. Furthermore, it

is unhealthy for the elk, bears, and other animals who drink at these

streams. For these animal s food to be preserved, and their homes be

protected, clear-cut logging must end.

Clear-cut logging in British Columbia must be abolished.

Forests must be allowed time to regenerate. All in all man must

assist by planting new trees where old growth is cut. People must use

more caution in exercising their destructive logging practices, which

in turn are most harmful to the environment. Loggers must find an

alternate tree harvesting method to clear-cutting. Though it may take

longer and be a little more expensive, man must devise a method that

won t completely destroy an area of land which, to many animals, is

home. Human beings must allow animals to have plenty of available

food, and an easy home to find. All animals will soon become

endangered or be driven to extinction if not given space to thrive.

Today in BC, 190,000 hectares of forest are clear-cut every year. A

result of 10,000 years of post-glacial activity, is being clear-cut.

Unless people take action now, half of all the unprotected intact

rainforest valleys will have roads built into them or be clear-cut.

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