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.