Forests Don’t Need to Disappear


South of our house

We often hear about how the Amazon rain forests are being decimated. They are cut and burned to make way for agricultural crops, though the soil is thin and poor. It is easy to start getting the impression that the forests around the world are dwindling, though the Amazon isn’t close to being the only forest in the world. The truth is actually a little different from what most people are led to believe.

There are places where forests have indeed been destroyed. For instance, the area that is now Iran and Iraq was once a place dominated by vast forests. Most of the forests have been destroyed now, leaving the land to be taken over by desert. Without the trees, the land has also become salty, due to irrigation practices, and in some areas they can’t even grow rye anymore. Rye is one of the hardiest grains known to man.

With some knowledge, effort and time, the land where forests are gone can be reforested, though. Israel has and is doing exactly that. They are a world leader in reclaiming land that was once barren and waste. Their techniques are innovative and they work. The number of trees and the amount of food crops the Israelis produce is phenomenal. The land has been reclaimed, the salt has been removed and fruit trees and other crops are grown in places where very little would grow, only one or two hundred years ago.

It isn’t fair to say that the forests are disappearing, though. Many countries are working to preserve their forests. It is possible to have a happy medium between forest use and forest growth.

As an example, the United States harvests thousands of acres of trees each year. Millions of acres of trees burn up in forest fires yearly. Yet, the US plants an enormous number of trees every year, too. There are laws in place that cover the harvest and replanting, stating that for every acre harvested, an acre must be planted. Obviously, since nature also destroys forests through fires, this wouldn’t even be status quo. We’d lose ground, literally.

However, between the US forest service, state forestry services and timber companies that do the harvesting, more trees are planted than the number that are killed. In the Pacific Northwest part of the US, at least 1.5 acres of forest is planted for every acre harvested. That doesn’t count areas that have been burned and replanted by the forest service. The result is that there are a greater number of trees in the US now than there were when the land was first colonized. This is a good thing, but it isn’t close to what activists want people to know.

Other countries are also taking steps to increase the number of forests and trees, too. It is a pity that not all are, but the fact remains that the forests aren’t disappearing quite as fast as people are led to believe.




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Posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , by with 10 comments.


  • dawnwriter says:

    When forests are destroyed, many native plants and animals lose their habitat. Do they flourish in forests planted by men?

    • rextrulove says:

      Absolutely, @dawnwriter. Forests go through a sequence in nature and they eventually die, regardless if man is around or not. This is called succession. If man manages it properly, the forest is able to keep going far longer than if it was left to nature.

      I’m not saying if this is good or bad, but you are correct. When the forest dies, many other plants and animals can no longer live there. With wise management, the plants and animals that depend on a healthy forest not only survive, they thrive.

      As an example, in the past 50 years, the deer, elk and bear populations in the US have exploded. Again, that isn’t necessarily a good thing, because in many locations there are far too many now, even with hunting seasons in place. Timber wolves were on the brink of extinction and now are also over-populated, because of healthy forests.

  • Andria Perry says:

    I am planting trees, in the past five years I have planted around 15 or more. I plan to plant several more I got free for a donation, well that’s really paying but ya know.

  • Sandy KS says:

    The city I live in is known for having trees all over the city. The city has won awards for it.

    My favorite place in the world to be is in a forest. Preferably on the side of a mountain. Since, Ohio doesn’t have them. I have to be content with a hilly forest.

    • rextrulove says:

      @rusty2rusty, I live close to a forested hillside, but not actually on one.The picture is the view from our porch. The trees are two kinds of pine, three kinds of fir and Western Larch (aka Tamarack). There are a few quaking aspen in there, too, but they are hard to tell from the larch, because the picture was taken in the fall and the larch had already turned yellow and almost exactly the same color as the aspen leaves.

  • I applaud and support Israel’s efforts at reforestation. I think everybody else should follow the example. Don’t people realize that trees are what make planet earth livable. None of the other planets have trees. I’m no brilliant scientist. But I know that!

  • Sometimes people think once the damage is done it can’t be returned to the same state again. But lots of things can be be fixed if we have the patience to repair or rebuild.

    • rextrulove says:

      @cmoneyspinner, you are quite right. In fact, though a huge amount of timber in the US is harvested every year and even more burns up in forest fires, that is one reason that there are more trees in America now than there were when it was first colonized by Europeans.

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