|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
- a locus for recreational and tourism activities
- a habitat for wildlife
- a generator of oxygen
- an environmental sink for carbon
- a regulator of water flow
- a repository of genetic diversity
- 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.