Deforestation definitely isn't doing nature any favors, but at least there's a financial incentive for it, right?
Well, not really, actually, as this infographic shows.
Based on an economic valuation of Sumatra's Leuser National Park, designer Jan Willem Tulp breaks down the pros and cons of alternatives to deforestation in a beautiful interactive infographic. It maps the relative impact of three different forest management strategies: logging but replanting trees, or "selective-use"; deforestation, which is what's happening to the park now; and total, tree-friendly conservation. Each strategy is then evaluated on how it'd impact the bottom line of different regions, industrial sectors and stakeholders.
For the most part, logging but replanting trees or conserving forests altogether would result in financial gain: certain areas would take a hit (the timber industry, obviously, and also agriculture), but more industries, like tourism and fisheries, would improve. Of course, this is only based on research for a single park, so data for other forests would be at least a little different. You've got to wonder what this chart would look like for a place like the Amazon.
See the full infographic here.
Now only logging but replanting trees to replace what was cut, but we also could look to the future and plant more trees currently than we need. This would give more jobs currently for the planting, help to lower C02 in the environment, help wildlife, and help stop water runoff and erosion.
If planting of trees was done on a large enough scale, they create their own weather, like rain forest keep the USA wetter. Many scientific articles point out often the Midwest and west farms will be running very soon toward droughts and not enough water for the crops.
We could also put more lakes around the USA on mountains for farming and as the water is used for farms the electricity can be stored and used too. The lakes can be a type of energy reserve for windmills, solar panels, any type of solar generating plant.
With the added trees for the future, the price of lumber will come down with that future building cost.
Animie is right. There are more trees in the United States today than there were 100 years ago just for that reason. Financial incentive encourages more trees to be planted, and to not devastate giant swaths of trees all at once.
Furthermore this is just a single park that was analyzed. And it was a tourism park. Most logging doesn't occur alongside tourism.
Finally, I disagree with the findings, because the logging accomplishes something else. It has people in the forest moving around and clearing brush.
Thanks to the biggest pyromaniac of them all, Smokey the Bear, we've been seeing an uptick in the devastation of forest fires because we don't allow them to occur regularly, which would clear out the brush while allowing the trees survive. That's what their fast-burning pine twigs and thick bark evolved for. Logging has people there on the ground clearing the brush, taking away the kindling that turns each forest in the country into a powder keg. Those loggers, statistically, are protecting the entirety of the forest out of the incentive to destroy only some of it.
Remember: Only you can postpone forest fires!
I just don't see how we were duped by that bear. He has 'Smokey' in his name for goodness sake! Some bears just want to watch the world burn.
Oh stop it makes me want to weep.
Good points animie and brian144. It's easy to grasp that complete deforestation could have expensive and devastating consequences. But trees are a renewable resource and can be replanted so it's difficult to understand how no logging at all would have the greatest economic value until you identify the 2 flawed assumptions being made in the study:
1. Eco-tourism will become a major source of revenue.
2. Investment in carbon sequestration by industrial nations looking to offset their CO2 production would also be a major source of revenue.
Maybe in the mythical economy of hyper-environmentalists these are good assumptions, but in the real world they are not. In the United States we have adopted the "selective use" approach; call it conservation. We use our resources and we replenish them. Timber companies harvest trees on private land and in national forests and then replant them. It makes economic sense. The U.S. is a major exporter of wood, but we also manage to have more trees today than a century ago as brian144 pointed out.
In Sumatra, it's far easier to export trees than it is to import tourists to offset the value of the trees not being harvested. And carbon credit investments? The implausibility of that scheme deserves an entire essay.
The use of a picture of deforestation caused by the Mt. St. Helens eruption event may bring people's emotions to the surface but we would be unable to stop such an event of deforestation unless we knew the eruption was going to happen and harvested the trees before the event. I do not see what the picture has to do with the infographic and associated data. Seems like you are trying to "Photoshop" the story to push an "economic benefit" study in Indonesa.
Trees can be replanted. But the varied plant & insect species that live among the trees cannot be replaced so easily. Some may only exist in specific parts of the rainforest (or a single rainforest). The potential medicinal and/or pharmacological benefits may not yet be known, and could have tremendous financial value, or, possibly even immeasurable value to humanity [such as being the critical component to curing a disease].
I'm curious as to what the overall difference would be between the increase in tourism dollars and the cost of more expensive paper products.
I'm always amused by the incredibly high, and totally subjective, financial values environmentalists place on things like trees, plants, insects or animals. They claim that there is no taxpayer cost too great when it comes to "saving" a particular species such as the snail darter fish or the spotted owl. The basis for their extremist actions is that once a species becomes extinct, it is gone forever. But sadly what they fail to appreciate is that throughout earth's history there have been numerous events that have periodically resulted in most of earth's plant/animal/insect species being wiped out. Yet eventually new species evolved to replace them.