One of the hottest news topics these days is tree thinning. Few people realize that forests can be effectively thinned if there is no requirement to log old growth forests to make way for logging of smaller species of trees. People have the misconception that thinning of forests is the method of forest management practiced by deforestation companies that devastate forests and their inhabitants.
However, thinning of forests is not only practiced by these companies. It is also done by commercial forestry. The national government gives money to commercial logging companies to thin forests. As a result, most commercially grown trees are cut down to clear space for more trees.
The results of thinning forests are not pretty. As the land that was once home to old-growth trees are converted to new generation growth trees, the forest becomes increasingly unproductive. At some point, the poor yields of new growth trees are such that it is clear that the forests are declining. As such, the national government is forced to resort to what some would call “taxation” to cover the expenses incurred by thinning forests.
The results are clear. The poorer quality of the new growth forest yields, the more that the government has to “tax” to finance the real estate interests of the forest companies. So, when “tree thinning” is promoted, it is really a way to buy commercial forests at bargain prices and then cut down the forest to sell to real estate developers, by assuring their financial interests in doing so.
The above is not to say that logging companies don’t have good intentions. I suppose that they have good intentions, as do all real estate companies, but what happens is that the forest is weak and stops producing as well as the commercial logging companies. People worry that if this is done to old growth forests, how many forests are available for new trees?
Well, it is not so simple. The problem is that the real estate developers that buy old growth forests expect them to produce as much as a hundred years ago. If these forests are thinned and left to degrade and will not produce, the trees will not be picked up and allowed to grow. The forest companies will leave the forest to decay and is unlikely to have the private parties pick up the trees as it is expensive and time consuming.
However, the worst that can happen is that the old growth forests are left to die over time due to the changing climate conditions that the forest must now endure. If all new grown trees are cut down, it is unlikely that the poor quality of new growth forests can be replaced to the same levels. The problem is exacerbated if the number of new forests that have to be planted increases due to logging. In this case, tree thinning is a bad idea.