Clearcutting: Like An “Ecological Massacre”

A tree by Alberto Roblest

Just about everybody knows that clearcutting is bad. But why does it matter to us here in Washington, DC? While we don’t have any forests in the city, just about all houses built in the United States – including in the District – use lumber in their framing. It takes the equivalent of one acre of clearcut forest to build a single 1,700-square-foot wood-framed home.  Much of it comes from U.S. and Canadian forests.

Jason Grant, one of the more eloquent defenders of eco-friendly logging, has a long article explaining the differences between timber operations that take care to preserve the natural state of the forest and more evasive industrial forestry in the winter edition of Trim Tab magazine.  Grant writes:

“Many recoil from large-scale clearcutting because, to most people outside of the forest products industry, itʼs ugly. A recent clearcut looks like the scene of ecological massacre: the acres of stumps gape upward, the soil is torn up, and there is a lot of trashy-looking woody debris around.”

“The more serious effects of industrial forestry may be the less visible impacts that accumulate over time: the gradual loss of natural soil fertility; soil erosion and the sedimentation of fish-bearing streams; the accumulation in soil and water of the chemical remnants of herbicides used to suppress plants that compete with commercial plantings; the decline of populations of wildlife that rely on extensive areas of complex and mature forest that industrial forestry tends to fragment or eliminate.

Read more in Trim Tab magazine’s winter edition. The article starts on page 37.

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About greendistrict

I'm Christine MacDonald, a journalist and the author of the book: "Green, Inc., An Environmental Insider Reveals How a Good Cause Has Gone B

Posted on January 14, 2010, in sustainability and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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