Deforestation and the Lumber Industry

Deforestation refers to the clearance of land covered by trees in order to use the land for other purposes. Since the trees are cut, this results in a source of lumber that is often sold off for production or other purposes. However, the main goal of (modern) deforestation is the land, and not the lumber. Despite this, there is a close link between deforestation and the lumber industry, partly due to the fact that deforestation does sometimes occur with lumber as the goal as well. Deforestation is still ongoing, with many acres of forest cover being lost every year. Some argue that the lumber industry is one that protects the forest cover, instead of destroying it. Others, however, claim that the use of timber products accelerate deforestation, as even if some countries mandate that timber be ethically sourced, there will always to unlawful logging with nations and companies trying to circumvent the rule. Deforestation is a leading factor in the increasing carbon concentration in the atmosphere as well as global warming and the deterioration of Earth’s biodiversity. The demand for timber products is still on the rise, with different types of timber being available and being used in an increasing number of products with furniture being on the most popular. However, many furniture sellers such as furniture stores Sunshine Coast sell products fabricated from ethically sourced timber. Hence, other causes of deforestation should be addressed.

What causes Deforestation?

The single biggest cause of deforestation is the conversion of forest area to cropland or pasture. Forests are routinely chopped down or burned to make way for farm area which can yield more income for the landowner than by growing trees. Some governments also encourage the deforestation of natural rainforests to obtain more land for industrial or agricultural activities, which results in the loss of the forest cover.

The underlying cause for deforestation is poverty, which encourages people to conduct illegal logging and sell the timber. State development projects such as industrial areas, roads, and railways also usually result in the clearing of large areas of forest to make way for the project. Forests are also cut as cities and towns grow in order to make space for residence.

Influence of the Lumber Industry

The lumber industry requires that trees be farmed in areas in order to harvest their wood. Since wood is continually required, this ensures that a given land is always covered in trees and that new ones are replanted as they are felled. This also gives the landowners an incentive to protect their forests from illegal logging activity as it gives trees more value. Conversely, if harvesting timber were made illegal, their land would lose this value and they would be compelled to clear out the trees to make space for more commercially viable crops. Manufacture of products from harvested timber is also a net carbon sink as the continuous planting and harvesting of trees removes carbon from the atmosphere and ‘locks’ it inside timber products.

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