1/24/2013

Services Provided By Intact Old Growth Forests

We convert high quality old growth forests into low quality, over-sized houses

It is true that different people see the same tree in quite different ways.

The logging industry views old growth trees as a cheap source of valuable timber that will maximize their profits. From a business point of view it would be best to log 100% of old growth, then when the low cost, high grade timber is gone, move on to younger forests.

While investors and the BC government may prefer this view, it is one that fails in all other regards. What about those that see the forest as pristine nature to be protected for all time? What about all the creatures that see the forest as home?

Never calculated in the decision whether to cut or not cut our degraded primal forests, are the valuable services provided by healthy, intact trees and forests. The price of the trees from a clear cut can be accurately calculated, but what price tag do we put on the services provided by leaving the old growth standing?

We know the price of the trees, but know very little about their value.

Services Provided By Intact Old Growth Forests
William J. Reed, 1992

"The value of standing old-growth forest comprises many components. Old-growth forest can provide positive amenity services such as one or more of the following:

  1. a locus for recreational and tourism activities
  2. a habitat for wildlife
  3. a generator of oxygen
  4. an environmental sink for carbon
  5. a regulator of water flow
  6. a repository of genetic diversity
  7. a regulator of local and even possibly global climate

In addition many people are coming to recognize that old-growth has an intrinsic existence value (apart from the 'use' values listed above), simply because it is a part of a vanishing pristine Nature. Like diamonds or any other economic good it has value simply because it is simultaneously wanted and scarce."


Because of our massive miscalculation of the value of protected primal forests, we end up liquidating a high value resource that could continue delivering services we need, in a self-sustaining manner for centuries. 

We trade these irreplaceable services for low value products like cheap homes unlikely to last longer than a few decades.

If we continue on our present path we will fail to appreciate the true value of old growth until it is gone.  The price we will pay is too high.

Everyone will suffer, including the logging industry, governments, and investors. 

6 comments:

  1. Thank you! This not only made me smile (cartoon!), but it helps to know there are others out there who are fed up with the persistent resource-extraction mentality in our societies. We only have a tiny fraction of wild or semi-wild nature left. That should be reason enough to preserve what is left.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am fed up, but I am not going to give up.

      Conservation, preservation. Not degradation.

      If we don't change, this will end badly.

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Glad that hit a chord with you. Thanks for visiting.

      Delete
  3. Anonymous3/6/14

    What the hell can we do if it is going on today? Does anyone care? It won't stop until it's all gone.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Still the same things are going on. No one can stop. In the race to earn more and more money, no one thinks of what can be the consequences of doing so.

    ReplyDelete

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