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Forestal Types Essay, Research Paper
FORESTAL TYPES AND THEIR IMPORTANCE TO MANKIND
The average person creates an infinite amount of thoughts per minute. Within this vast amount of processed information, a common American proceeds with his daily routine, not giving any thought to survival without forests. In the event of a possible forestal depletion, life would dramatically change for the worse. The importance of trees and its products is rarely given its deserved respect. Taken for granted by most, this significant element of our life is key to our survival on this planet.
There are many different types of forests located throughout the world s nations, depending primarily on climate. The tropics contain more than half of the world s forests. Tropical forests supply half of the world s annual harvest of hardwood, hundreds of food products (including coffee, tea, cocoa, spices, nuts, chocolate, and tropical fruits), and materials such as natural latex rubber, resins, dyes, and essential oils.
Trees are categorized within two types of growth, each with their own importance.
Old-growth forests are those which have been in existence for hundreds or thousands of years. With a lack of disturbance of any kind, these uncut and regenerated forests provide homes to an immense amount of wildlife species. In the United States, more than ninety-five percent of old growth forests are gone. Major issues arise between officials of timber companies and conservation biologists on the subject of old-growth forests. The argument of whether to cut or preserve these lands is constantly disputed
Second-growth forests are trees that have grown back after cutting. The majority of forests in the United States are second-growth forests. Many reside within a uniformly managed plantation. When commercially valuable, these trees are cut on regular cycles. These cycles consist of replanting and then clear-cutting.
Between 1980 and 1995 the world s area of tree farms doubled and by 1995 occupied a total area slightly smaller than the land area of Mexico. The area devoted to tree plantations is projected to double between 1995 and 2000.
The cutting of these trees allows the world to indulge in a tremendous amount of resulting products. Hidden within the bark, the sap, the roots, and the foliage, are extensive products used in everyday life.
Endless uses for trees can be seen everywhere. Drive down a road and one will notice grand houses, billboards, boats along a waterfront, docks scan one s living area and see the finely made coffee tables, bookshelves containing collections of our history, dressers and shelves, spice racks, television stands innumerable examples surround one s life.
Medicine, oils, and ointments are only a few discovered uses. People have grown accustomed to the availability of building materials such as lumber, plywood, and particle board which are used to manufacture furniture, shelter and other needs.
More than half of the timber cut each year is used as fuelwood and charcoal. These particular products serve in areas of cooking and heating.
Pulp is used in a variety of paper and other products. Without this resource, the world would not have developed as fast as it has. Our culture has advanced in ways unseen without the availability of cut timber.
Since 1950, the global demand for wood has doubled and paper use has increased more than fivefold. Between 1995 and 2010, global demand for paper is expected to double again. The United States has the world s highest per capita use of paper- about seven times the average global per capita use.
Being that the consumption of wood and wood products is extremely high, the United States became the world s largest importer of these products. Our dependence on these products is one of sheer demand.
Besides the economic importance of forests, there is also a great ecological significance. Most people don t realize exactly how much forests serve our world in more ways then just the products they supply. Without forests, our world would evolve into barren and desolate lands lacking unique species which have once dwelled within the trees. Forests serve as a mediator limiting the amount of water flow rushing from the mountains, thus protecting the environment.
Forests also help maintain climate control. Without trees, a region will become arid and its soil nutrients would be depleted.
According to one calculation, a typical tree provides $196,250 worth of ecological benefits during its lifetime, in the form of oxygen, air purification, soil fertility and erosion control, water recycling and humidity control, and wildlife habitats. Sold as timber, the same tree is worth only about $590. Even if such estimates are off by a factor of 100, the long-term ecological benefits of a tree still clearly exceed its short-term economic benefits.
The American forest has been abused since the first settlers had arrived on the Mayflower. Europe s hunger for wood had a major impact on the forests. That was the beginning of thousands of ships filled with lumber bound to other countries. Wood was the major source of energy, was the building material of choice, and nearly as important as food to the settlers.
By the mid-nineteenth century, a few Americans were beginning to realize the nation s destruction of its natural resources. George Perkins Marsh left a powerful impact on the subsequent history of the conservation movement. In a speech on agricultural conditions, Marsh draws attention to the human impact on climate, the problems caused by “the injudicious destruction of the woods” , and calls for replacing “improvident waste” with a “better economy in the management of our forest lands” . This was the first documented conservationist approach to the management of forested lands. Marsh eventually published his analysis of humanity s destructive impact on the environment.
Before 1900, timber was cut faster than it grew, there were no reforestation programs, and wildfire consumed millions of acres every year.
The beginning of the 20th century gave rise to this new awareness. Gifford Pinchot was appointed chief of the Division of Forestry in the Department of Agriculture and in 1898 began a mission to secure forest management. Pinchot established the leading national forestry agency which later became the U.S. Forest Service.
In September of 1901, Theodore Roosevelt became President of The United States of America and conservation becomes a major part of his democratic policy. Roosevelt had outlined his goals of forest conservation and preservation, and the need for government-sponsored irrigation projects.
Today, American forests are healthier and larger than they were at that time due to tree farms and recycling, however, diversity and ecological aspects have been negatively altered. Because tree farms are uniform in age and species, much of the nation s overall tree coverage is docile and orderly.
Changes in how forests are managed and products are manufactured, in where markets for these goods and services are, in how knowledge is created and used, and even in how we think about forests will be at least as important as policy changes in making the U.S. forest sector more sustainable. Innovation, experimentation, and leadership by government, communities, resource managers, manufacturers, consumers, and others are vital to sustainability. All of this is predicated on the idea that options should be preserved before the resource deteriorates irremediably and, basically, that one good turn will catalyze another. The transition to a sustainable U.S. forest sector will take decades, and success is not guaranteed.
In a work written by Nels Johnson and Daryl Ditz, ten steps on how to resolve deforestation issues were clearly depicted. The following are the steps they found to be essential.
+ DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT REGIONAL OR STATE SUSTAINABLE
FOREST SECTOR PLANS
+ ESTABLISH A NATIONAL NETWORK OF DEMONSTRATION SUSTAINABLE FORESTS
+ SLOW FRAGMENTATION AND ENHANCE STEWARDSHIP OF PRIVATE FOREST LANDS THROUGH TAX REFORMS
+ RESTORE AND ENHANCE TIMBER PRODUCTIVITY ON DEGRATED LANDS THROUGH INNOVATIVE FINANCING MECHANISMS
+ PROTECT AND RESTORE CRITICALLY ENDANGERED FOREST ECOSYSTEMS THROUGH TARGETED INCENTIVE PROGRAMS, LAND ACQUISITIONS, AND LAND SWAPS
+ ENCOURAGE FORESTRY EFFORTS WITHIN THE UNITED STATES TO SEQUESTER CARBON, INCREASE FIBER SUPPLIES, AND ENHANCE RURAL DEVELOPMENT
+ MAKE THE ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE OF FOREST COMPANIES AND THEIR PRODUCT MORE OPEN TO PUBLIC SCRUTINY
+ BOLSTER U.S. INTERNATIONAL LEADERSHIP TO IMPROVE THE SUSTAINABILIETY OF FOREST MANAGEMENT WORLD-WIDE
+ CULTIVATE A MORE ROBUST CONCEPT OF SUSTAINABILITY IN U.S. FORESTRY EDUCATION
+ INTEGRATE SUSTAINABILITY IN CORPERATE GOALS, PLANNING, AND OPERATIONS
In conclusion, there are many significant reasons why forests are important to mankind. The abundance and extreme use of wood products creates a dependency upon trees for a large variety of products. In the process of fulfilling these immediate needs for those products, however, people are virtually destroying long-term ecological services.
Thus, the dilemma arises. Forests can be renewable if cutting does not exceed the rate of regrowth, but this is not always the case. Land once beautifully full of lively old-growth trees has turned into wastelands, deserted by all who had once inhabited it. The trees are not alone in this degradation. Ecosystems suffer painful and sometimes irreversible effects from vast cutting.
The people of today have learned this fact of destruction and have created supporting groups attempting to enforce the preservation. With a rising support in recycling, wood substitutes, and conservation, hopefully future generations will not have to endure that dark world which lies just beneath our greed and immediate concerns.
Trees protect our world from harmful elements and safeguard against extreme weather conditions. Its importance to mankind expands well past just the products it produces. Hopefully, with this growing concern, our children will be able to stroll beneath immense shade, and live in a world where the effects of stupidity won t echo within.
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