The future of forests

Harpo

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#1
Today's news of a Northern Forest which will stretch across the north of England has got me wondering how many similar projects there are in the world.

Deforestation has always been a part of mankind's progress, of course, but nowadays there seems to be a growing awareness that we (humans and other species) will always need forests. Planting new forests isn't as good as preserving the old ones, of course, but most of the old ones have been gone for centuries now.

What is the future of forests?

Plan to grow new Northern Forest
 

Joe Loomis

New Writer with Dreams
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Oregon U.S.A.
#2
The life cycle of a forest is fascinating to read about.

I'm sure in European countries with all the history most old growth forests are gone. In certain areas of the USA there still are old growth and it can be amazing to see.

I hope that some day soon we (humanity) will find an equilibrium with nature.
 

BAYLOR

There Are Always new Things to Learn.
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#3
The life cycle of a forest is fascinating to read about.

I'm sure in European countries with all the history most old growth forests are gone. In certain areas of the USA there still are old growth and it can be amazing to see.

I hope that some day soon we (humanity) will find an equilibrium with nature.
The way things are going now, that seems unlikely.
 

LordOfWizards

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Middle Earth
#4
As long as we don't start taking down the Boreal/Taiga forest bands ("Taiga is the world's largest land biome, making up 29% of the world's forest cover. The largest areas are located in Russia and Canada."), anything we add at more southern latitudes won't hurt, but like many areas in science, getting your mind around the sheer size of these forests is not easy. From the first link: "Known in Russia as the Taiga, the boreal forest constitutes one of the largest biomes in the world, covering some 12 million square kilometres."
BOREALFOREST.ORG - Boreal Forests of the World - Introduction

From this article: "11. To date, only 12% of boreal forest is protected around the globe -- and over 30% has already been designated for logging, energy and other development"
30 fascinating facts about the boreal forest

From this link: The taiga stores enormous quantities of carbon, more than the world's temperate and tropical forests combined, much of it in wetlands and peatland. In fact, current estimates place boreal forests as storing twice as much carbon per unit area as tropical forests.
Taiga - Wikipedia

Here is a group that is attempting to re-grow on a major scale: Our Approach | WeForest
 
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Joined
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#9
For the record, a Russian scientist among others is working on bumping up numbers of certain large herbivores (like Bison and so on), even up to trying to merge Mammoth DNA with Elephant DNA to produce Mammoth clones.

The reason being, they have determined that 'forestation' due to lack of large herbivores, is causing areas of permafrost to thaw. That naturally results in massive methane/CO2 releases, making greenhouse emissions by man virtually inconsequential in comparison. The plan being that these large animals will keep forests down in those areas, keeping them tundra/field environments which freeze deeper than forested areas.

There is a VICE News video regarding that research if interested.

K2
 

Robert Zwilling

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#10
A forested area without a diverse animal population living a robust life inside that forest is a dysfunctional forest and can not provide all the benefits true forests are able to deliver. There is the nagging question of where is the oxygen going. It has been on a downward course, not dramatic, but measurable. When I was in grade school we were told the exact percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere. What happens today? Are the students told that the oxygen percentage is slowly decreasing and today's number is only temporary. After ice ages went through and killed all the ground worms, the new forests that never had ground worms in them apparently don't take too kindly to worms being re-introduced into their environment. When I was growing up worms were always pictured as one of man's best friends. Without all kinds of wild animals to keep the worm populations in check, the worms can eat up the forest floor debris before it rots away into good soil. That changes the soil chemistry which changes the soil microbial populations which changes the rot cycle. Like the nail falling out of the horseshoe, the diversity of growth is directly impacted. My part of the US has more trees than it did 200 years ago when the land was all cleared for farming and development. There are real forested areas and then there are huge amounts of smaller but measurable areas of trees that are what I call dysfunctional forests. They have big insect, rodent and deer populations. That's the trifecta for unlimited tick production. I have been trying to find on the internet base numbers for trees. The numbers I have seen are not pretty. Still trying to verify them. Supposedly there are 3 trillion trees now. There once was 6 trillion trees. 5 billion new trees are started each year. 10 billion trees disappear from the landscape by natural and unnatural means every year. Perhaps sustainable forestry only works when we plant the trees and walk away forever.
 
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#11
Well, it's an incredibly complex situation that would take thousands of years to ever return to what once was. There are areas in the Midwest that at one time were covered with old-growth forests. Now, they're covered with these pseudo little scrub trees that are going nowhere and never will... BUT, they keep those old growth types of forests from ever growing.

More so, they alter the conditions of the soil, weather patterns, water retention, new deciduous annual buildup critical to countless organisms which all in turn affect the ecosystem. The biggest problem is, most people don't have vision past their lifetimes. In fact, I'd venture that many don't even consider their children's or grandchildren's until it is too late for them to actually contribute a significant degree to change.

If you want some real idea of the differences in landscape, don't look at one of the few old-growth forests, they're deceptive as to how it was say 200 years prior. Look at old logging photos. Even in the Midwest which makes logging in the Northwest seem pale, the differences in trees are staggering... and those photos are from WELL after, a century perhaps, after the biggest and best timber was long gone.

As an example, it's easy to guess where this tree is from:



Nope, that's Michigan, and well after the big ones were gone.

K2
 
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