Many people have been writing about various things that are happening in the world, and I enjoy reading them.  I prefer to write about stuff that is directly concerning me. Sometimes I like to talk about the questions I have in my life.

Today, I wanted to write a little about trees.

It is a sure sign that I have been a true “Oregonian” when I start to write and think about trees.  I really doubt that many people actually ponder the effects that they have in the world.

First, I need to mention one argument that really pissed me off.  Someone once said that tree’s are like a weed.  I don’t remember who said this, otherwise I would provide a source to it.  They argue that they are a weed because nothing can grow around them and underneath them.  Like a weed, they take over the land and push out everything else.  To show their point, they took photos underneath old growth trees.  It is true, you don’t see flowers, bushes, grass, or much else other than some dirt and ferns.  Sure, under a large tree sunlight does not reach the ground, but this doesn’t mean that they are a weed.  (Enough about this topic, I actually wanted to write about something else.  This just came to mind as I was typing.)

When I first started to learn about sustainability, I heard the word “harvesting” trees.  I never really looked at tree’s as harvestable.  That word, to me, means something like wheat, grain, barley.  I guess, trees are a crop. .  if you can look at it that way.  Major corporations plant them, and then cut them down when they are mature enough.

There is one slight difference between harvesting an ear of corn, and cutting down a tree.  The corn has a life of one season, at the end of the year it dies and it needs to be replanted the next year.  A tree, on the other hand takes many years to grow.  In that time a micro-environment starts to become established.  The dear, owls, squirrels and other natural life doesn’t know that this forest is only temporary.  They start to become accustomed to the land, and then it is taken from them.  Not just one or two trees, no. .  all of them.  Harvesting tree farms is much like clear cutting old forest, I personally don’t think it is good business practice.

Digging a little deeper into the problems of tree farming, you find that many (if not all) the trees are of the same species.  Thus, if one become sick with some sort of tree disease, then it is likely that the rest of them will too.  Also, another example can be stated that if there is a forest fire, it is very likely that all of the tree’s in this crop will burn too.

In a natural environment, there are several different types of species of trees in the forest.  They have different tolerances to different things.  Some are more likely to burn, while others aren’t.  There is a balance to the way things are done.  Humanity just doesn’t understand.   I don’t claim to know what the right course of action is, I just feel that the current course is wrong.

The demands for timber keeps growing each year, and there is no doubt that we need to find sustainable ways to get our lumber.  Maybe the way we are doing things is the best, or at least the best we can do right now.  To me, it just seems wrong and I think the practice should change.

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Posted in ecological degradation, sustainable development, sustainable living
One comment on “trees
  1. jeremy says:

    The *true* value of a tree, of course, is much greater than its lumber value. If one were to calculate the value of the ecosystem services a single tree provides, it would be many times its market value. Not least of these ecosystem services relates to water retention, and the profound impact this can have on a micro-climate. Sustainable forestry is not an oxymoron, but the “harvesting” technique does require the application of science which – as your blog post intimates – is not always in evidence.

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