Forests serve people and animals as safe places of solitude and habitat far from the intrusion of urban life. Forests have long supported recreational activities such as hiking, horseback riding, camping, and swimming, while providing an important natural resource: wood fibers. For generations people have depended on wood for construction, furniture, paper, and heating fuel. The logging industry grew first on the East Coast of the United States as the population grew from the original colonies. Logging supplied the raw materials needed for the population’s westward expansion, especially in the hurried rush west after gold was discovered.
Today only 36 percent of the world’s forests are primary forests, forests that have never been disturbed by human activities on a large scale. In the United States, the U.S. Forest Service predicts that forest destruction will continue to increase to serve the country’s increased demand for wood and paper because of three factors: growing population, rising income levels, and upward economic activity. The U.S. Forest Service has estimated the country’s increased consumption of wood products based on 1986 figures through the year 2040, shown in the table on the next page. These figures take into account recycling programs, substitute materials, and efforts by the timber industry to enhance its efficiency.
The timber industry employs forest economics to determine the most inexpensive way to select, cut, and transport wood to the nearest mill. Today the timber industry must include plans for making harvests as efficient as possible in order to spare trees and to reduce wood waste.
Forest economics includes aspects of forestry that support sustainability in forest harvesting and regrowth. Some of the areas covered by forest economics target increased profitability of the timber business, and other areas focus on the development of sustainable forests. The main activities that contribute to forest economics are:
• managing fire and storm losses
• protecting against invasive species
• managing native pests, parasites, and diseases
• engaging in methods for replanting harvested areas
• sustaining a wildlife population
• managing the effects of air pollution
• removing biomass
• enacting policies toward extreme environmentalism
Forest economics is a component of two different aspects of conservation: forest management and forestry. Both of these disciplines strive to maintain healthy forests, but each has different goals.
Source of Information : Green Technology Conservation Protecting Our Plant Resources