Wisdom in Logging Old Growth Forrests
By Jim Wilson
Left untouched, eucalypts age to a stage where they cease to grow and store more carbon [C], yet may remain alive for many years [eg the ‘Bird Tree’ in Middle Brother State Forest]. Such old trees take up space that young regrowth trees would occupy in a sustainably logged forest. Those faster growing young trees store more C and provide better food for Koalas. In an untouched forest, the C cycle just goes round and round and the amount of C storage remains static. With selectively logged forest, C, in the form of wood is removed from that cycle and the remaining trees and regrowth grow faster and remove more C from the atmosphere than is achieved with a preserved forest ecosystem. One of the reasons Scandinavians continue to log their native forests is that they see it as the most efficient way of removing C from the atmosphere. In NSW we already have guidelines that enable us to disturb the forest ecosystem in such a way that it remains stable and productive over the long haul. It can work out well, and our own property, and many others on private land are good examples on how sustainability is already being achieved.
Jim Wilson, MS [Purdue], PNF PVP 668742, former lecturer WSU.