Throughout the world, our forests are suffering from the overreach of human activity to extreme forest fires to extreme cutting down of our natural forests and resources. Over the past several decades since the 1970s – 1980s, there is a continual struggle between the two opposing factors. One of those factors is those who want to save the forests and see them thrive once again. The other is the loggers and huge corporations who make millions off the backs of loggers.
However, there is a miraculous thing happening between the two factions. They are now working together to bring the best of what each group has to offer. What’s more, they do this to find lasting solutions to Mother Earth and her precious forests. To that end, this article is about reforestation, tree-huggers, and loggers coming together in cooperation rather than competition.
Reforestation: Tree-huggers and Loggers Partner to Save our Forests
Chris Maser is a Canadian author, research scientist, and international consultant for forest ecology and the sustainability of forestry practices. In his book “Forest Primeval: The Natural History of an Ancient Forest”, Chris states that the way we treat earth’s forests is a mirror-image of how we treat ourselves and each other.
Fortunately, there are two impactful groups of people who are taking Chris’s statement seriously. those are the Environmentalists, aka, “Tree-Huggers” and those in the logging industry. These two groups now treat each other better! Also together, they are spearheading the better treatment of mother earth’s forests by defining best practices for reforestation.
“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another”― Chris Maser
What is reforestation?
Reforestation is a deliberate effort to replace forests and standing trees which humans remove intentionally or unintentionally. Reforestation does not always take place in the same location as the clearing of the standing trees. Rather, they do it in alternate spaces, sometimes on different continents. But the goal remains to replenish the earth with standing trees in response to the worldwide issue of deforestation.
Deforestation is any organized effort to remove any grouping of standing trees permanently to make space for anything other than trees. Deforestation includes the clearing of forests for the purpose of agriculture, construction projects, manufacturing and those cut for the purpose of fuel. Efforts to counter deforestation are important because mother earth’s forests are crucial to the survival of mankind.
Forests remove large amounts of carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere. According to figures published by the World Wildlife Fund, forests cover approximately 30% of the earth’s surface. Scientists agree that when increasing reforestation decreases the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This results in an aggressive increase in the earth’s global temperature.
Continual decrease in the number of the earth’s forests also causes mass deaths of forest animals. This is due to the loss of vegetation, the lack of proper shelter, flooding, and instability in natural food sources. This would completely devastate earth’s delicate ecosystem and carry catastrophic consequences to all humans on earth.
Reforestation efforts work to counter the impact of deforestation and produce a “net-zero” lose of the world’s standing trees. This in turn will preserve human life on earth by supporting earth’s ability to remove carbon dioxide from the environment, which is the way mother earth intended. This is a prime example of reforestation with tree-huggers and loggers working together to find solutions.
The logging industry and it’s impact on forests.
Logging is most often the term used when describing the process of removing a tree from its stump and then transporting it to another location. It is a very lucrative business and takes place on nearly every continent in areas where standing trees are abundant. The United States launched its logging industry in the 1600s when the first settlers began cutting down trees to build their settlements.
The industry grew from there and over the past 400 years has become an important part of the world economy. Logging is an integral piece of a supply chain that produces everything from sheets of printing paper and furniture, to larger products such as entire homes. And let’s not forget logging that is done to fuel mega-power plants which produce energy for homes.
The logging industry was once considered an “enemy-of-the-state” by environmentalists around the world. This was due to the amount of illegal logging of which corporations were admittedly guilty. In the past, loggers would commonly ignore certain laws surrounding the harvesting, sale, and purchase of lumber. These laws were put in place specifically to prevent deforestation.
Illegal logging includes the extraction of trees without permission and the logging of forests that were protected by the government. However, today, the logging industry no longer plays the role of the enemy and has instead joined the team of forestry heroes championing the cause of reforestation.
The impact of environmentalists on the forestry industry.
Forestry enthusiasts of the world are largely responsible for the 180-degree turn of the logging industry. The world’s community of environmentalists brought worldwide attention to crimes against nature orchestrated by members of the logging industry.
Over a period of decades, environmentalists spearheaded social movements in countries such as the United States, Brazil, Russia, Canada, China, and Australia. They did this massive effort to promote environmental rights and to continue to protect forests around the world.
For example, in the ’80s, the “Tree-Huggers” protested the sale of illegally obtained timber in states across the US. This sparked what became known as the “Timber Wars”. So, with little government support, they are, over the next decade, limiting logging in forests with federal protection.
The impact of tree-huggers is the long-term national attention to the issue of deforestation. This also includes efforts on every continent to balance the impact on mother earth’s forestry systems.
Reforestation, tree-huggers and loggers working in cooperation.
For many years tree-huggers generally saw loggers as a group of money-hungry corporate entities willing to ravage the planet to make a quick buck with no regard to the consequences. Moreover, loggers saw tree-huggers as overly cautious fanatics standing in the way of those trying to earn a living. However, many of today’s loggers and tree-huggers are finding a balance where both get a voice.
The balance between the needs of the logging industry and the demands of environmentalist societies around the world is a delicate one. The warnings of the tree-huggers of the world must be heeded, less the world falls into an irreversible state of toxicity detrimental to every human being. On the other hand, if logging were to stop completely, the world would also suffer dire consequences.
Without the logging industry, according to an article published by “Future Forest Inc.”, dead trees would go unmanaged resulting in bacteria and fungi running out of control wiping out entire forests. Plus, the scheduled tree cutting done by the loggers keeps branches and vegetation from overgrowing.
Without these efforts, overcrowding would occur potentially leading to some of the worst forest fires in recorded human history. All this would be in addition to the catastrophic economic impact this industry’s absence would present on a world-scale.
Loggers and environmentalists are finding concessions.
Loggers and environmentalist are finding concessions to the benefit of the other. What’s more, with the boost provided by public interest, they are finally working together. Both are finding ways to meet the needs of the logging industry while still protecting existing forests from extinction. And, they are partnering in the effort of reforestation to produce new forests which will keep both the logging industry and human beings alive.
For example, loggers and environmentalist of Eastern Oregon have formed the “Blue Mountain Forest” partnership. The purpose of this partnership is to build healthier forests to sustain wildlife within Oregon’s Malheur National Forest. This collaboration has so much middle ground that in 15 years, no lawsuits are on file by environmentalists against Oregon’s loggers involving the Malheur National Forest. This is a miracle all by itself!
The unique stewardship agreements for reforestation, tree-huggers and loggers.
Another way that loggers and tree-huggers are working together is in the formation of Stewardship Agreements. Stewardship agreements, (Stewardship contracts) are arrangements between a company or organization and a governing body over the treatment and improvement of a natural resource.
The loggers enter into these agreements who maintain, improve, and restore the forests which they are logging. They also agree to lower the exposure of toxic fumes emitting from their production processes to the ecosystem and surrounding communities.
One significant stewardship agreement was the 2014 Farm Bill. This agreement allowed the United States Forest Service in partnership with Nature Conservancy to manage the harvesting of 380 acres of forest.
Together, they ensured that the harvesting of 2 million feet worth of lumber was done with the lowest impact on the environment. This included overseeing the hiring of loggers and the final sale of the timber. Also, they ensured that part of the proceeds of the sale of lumber went towards forest restoration projects.
An end to clearcutting with cooperation between reforestation, tree-huggers and loggers.
One thing which tree-huggers have advocated against for decades is clearcutting. This word is at the root of most of the disdain that environmentalists had for loggers in the past. Clearcutting, as the name signifies, is the event of a logging company chopping down every single standing tree in one area leaving it completely desolate.
Additionally, in many cases in the past, nothing was planted to replace the clear-cut trees. Loggers would simply wipe out miles of forests and then move on. Worse, the machine loggers used to accomplish the desolation often severely damaged the soil making it difficult for reforestation in those areas.
Wildlife was also victimized by the process of clearcutting. With their habitats permanently destroyed, certain forest-dwelling species were facing extinction.
For example, in Southeast Prince George, a city in British Columbia, Canada, a logging company did a massive clear-cut of 500 kilometers in size. That’s over 300 miles, which is more than the size of the Canadian state Toronto, or just below the size of the state of New York. The clear-cut forest area was turned into a wasteland. When you consider how much leveling a forest area gets in a single clear-cut with little hope of reforestation, understanding tree-huggers alarm is easy.
However, loggers have slowly begun to turn away from this practice. The logging industry’s change of heart comes as a direct result of environmentalist’s efforts to bring light to the long-term effects of clearcutting.
Tree-huggers were able to generate international media attention informing the public that clearcutting is nothing short of deliberate and irreversible deforestation. And they mobilized dozens of organizations to help fight against it.
Now, logging companies around the globe are experimenting with alternative ways to log forests without clearcutting.
Low-intensity logging as a result of cooperation between reforestation tree-huggers and loggers.
Many logging companies have instituted a technique called “low-intensity logging”. This strategy satisfies their demands for lumber and the demands of tree-huggers. The technique primarily involves designating an area of forest to be clear-cut. However, large sections of trees within the clear-cut stay intact. Also, strict guidelines are in place so that reforestation occurs after logging is complete.
The purpose of low-intensity logging is to allow logging companies to continue their businesses without permanently devastating forests dooming the world in the process. These techniques are compromises that simply ensure that loggers will replace what they cut.
Both loggers and environmentalists consider this compromise able to produce a “sustained-yield” effect. This means limiting the number of trees they harvest so that there will be trees to harvest in the future.
One example of successful low-intensity logging practices is with the Timber West Forest Corporation in Vancouver, Canada. When this company was seeking to harvest a forest in Western Canada, they adopted the strategy of low-intensity logging so that the environment isn’t destroyed, and reforestation is possible.
Instead of a team of loggers, they used two loggers who worked using smaller equipment for six months to harvest the yield in a more sustainable way. They even went as far as using horses to haul the lumber from the forest location. This type of logging costs Timber West Forest Corporation upwards of 25% more than standard clear-cutting, but in the end, the project remains profitable and the forest thrives.
How everyone can help by cooperating with reforestation, tree-huggers and loggers.
Thanks to partnerships between loggers and tree-huggers, the net loss of the world’s forests has steadily decreased since the ’90s. Yet, we must make more progress. To date, humankind destroys nearly 32 million acres of forest land are destroyed every year due to fire or organized logging. The future of all plants and animals as well as all human beings on earth depends on how we treat mother earth’s forests going forward.
If you want to contribute to the effort of reforestation, there are dozens of organizations that work to protect the world’s treasury of forests. Here are just a few that could use your help:
- Rainforest Alliance
- Arbor Day Foundation
- Eden Forestation Project
- American Forests
- Trees for the Future
More information about each of these and others is found online. Working together, we can all become forestry heroes and save this natural resource from devastation.
Websites used for research.
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