Friday, March 19, 2010

Native Forests - leave em alone?

Many people are rightly cautious about the damage we have done by clearing our native forests, because we have done some . But don't be too hard on our forefathers,  because Australia , unlike areas in the Pacific Islands , Asia Africa and the Middle east we now have mostly well managed forests .Ask some questions if you don't believe me .
The photo is of a forest at Aireys inlet that was degraded by bushfire in 1983 - for more on the specifics click here
( If you see that label Well Managed Forest (WMF)  - good , its better than thinking we are going to get all our timber from plantation forests).  Its a renewable resource,  so buy it with confidence !

Should we just leave the forest alone?  
Well , we do have a choice . If we don't get the timber, Fire, Fungi and Ants will . FF&A don't sequester the carbon,  but we do, when we cut up the timber and put it into our houses and furniture .Furniture and houses can last 1000 's of years . Our native forest won't last 300 years without a fire or a regeneration process of some kind.Most burn a lot more frequently that that .

What about water quality ?
  As for the water( and soil)  quality while the forest is rotting , it deteriorates,  being exposed to leaching acid from organic matter breakdown over long periods . We don't need to pour so much alum and lime etc into our water if we harvest and use the timber from our forests.( you heard it first on Blogger)

Is there a down side to Timber harvesting ? . Yes Just like after fire there is the short term risk of soil erosion . This risk is much greater in tropical areas and where harvesting is not well planned in relation to the natural regeneration of the forest ( its natural cycle)

How are the native species protected if we allow harvesting?. All Australian approved logging is in small patches about one farm size ( unlike the big areas of bush-fires) so that recolonization and seeding is encouraged from the patches of untouched bush nearby ( this doesn't happen with bushfires so much ). Mixed aged stands which result from our logging also make for greater diversity than would occur by bush-fire ( these facts apply to Australia but may not apply to forests elsewhere) see more detail HERE
If you want to know more , Please ask Hanrahan on Yahoo Answers?

These matters are complex,  and its only right that people need to be convinced that we are not just justifying more exploitation and damage to our natural heritage .

Copyright EA19 Mar 2010