Forest Logging Essay, Research Paper
It is believed that the Queensland Government is spending too little on protecting its forest and too much on destroying it.
Community groups are sweating to planting trees while government bulldozers are clearing them away (3)
The rate of forest destruction to planting in Queensland is 10:1. The ACF (Australian Conservation Foundation) Executive Director Don Henry says $76 million has been spent on fencing off and planting about 130 000 hectares while more than ten times that amount has been cleared. With $105 million dollars the Government could save 4.7 million hectares with the stroke of a pen (3)
Forest destruction leads to several problems. The ecosystem, in the long run, is always affected. Forest logging causes erosion, greenhouse gas emissions, etc, etc
Regrowth (of a forest) is a long process – it takes up to 600 years for a rainforest to reach a climax community (5)
The problem is further complicated by the fact that forest destruction seems to be necessary for the survival of mankind.
Australia has strict laws on the use of its forests. Often, companies are required to replant trees in areas that are logged. This is known as reforestation .
There was an International Climate Summit in 1997 at Kyoto, Japan. Australia was involved in this. They agreed on a protocol allowing forest plantations to be considered (4)
Companies pumping large levels of CO2 in the air can gain credit-points for planting trees to absorb the CO2. These plantations can be used as part of an emission trading scheme (4) that will come into effect later on.
Recycling is a simple way of saving the forests. But, because recycled paper is a lot more expensive that normal paper, consumers looking for a discount will buy non-recycled paper instead.
Books, newspapers, magazines, etc, etc contribute to the destruction of many forests. With the space age approaching, we should be able to do many of these things on a computer and through the Internet. Some might argue that this will create an increase in the demand for power (electricity) and that the pollution from power plants will be just like, if not worse than logging forests.
This is why nuclear power plants – popular in the United States and France – may have to be built in Australia. Nuclear power emits only harmless steam and creates an enormous amount of energy. Downsides to nuclear power include the massive risks of a nuclear meltdown and the question of how to dispose of toxic waste.
It is obvious that the population of Australia will have an effect on its forests. If the nation were to control the population and keep it at a reasonable level, the demand for timber will not be too high and the forests will probably survive.
With the growth of medical science, the average man now lives for 72 years. Because of this, there is a population increase. People need a place to live, so land must be cleared to make way for houses. People need to eat, so land must be cleared to make way for farmland. People need to drink, so land must be cleared to make way for dams.
The loggers argue that they are supplying the Australian people with what they want. Loggers also say that reforestation will restore a destroyed forest back to its original state.
The conservationists would argue that forests are important – far more important than money. Trees protect the land from erosion by holding the soil in place with its roots – this prevents flooding. On mountains, it prevents landslides or mudslides that were seen at Thredbo.
Forests provide a home or habitat for other organisms. Without a forest, these organisms will die and the ecosystem will deteriorate. Although scientists have classified many organisms, many remain unknown to them. It is these unknown organisms that may provide the potential cure for AIDS or Cancer.
By regulating the amount of oxygen and CO2 in the atmosphere, forests control not only the climate of Australia, but also that of the world.
Logging contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Land clearing in Queensland releases almost as much greenhouse gas as the entire Australian Transport System. (2) This is because trees absorb greenhouse gas like CO2 and stores it as fixed-carbon . When the trees are chopped, burnt and starts decomposing, the gas is released back into the atmosphere as pure CO2. This is the reason why reforestation is bad – because old, large trees contain much more CO2 than young small trees. (4) Destroying old trees releases lots of CO2 and planting new young trees absorb only a little bit of CO2. Therefore, there is a net loss of carbon stocks in the forests.
2. Media Release, 5th March 2000 – Prime Minister Must Support Queensland Farmers
3. Media Alert, 18th February 2000 – PM has chance to save 940 million regional Australians
5. Jungle and Forests by Clint Twist