January 30, 2009

"For every acre of rain forest cut down each year, more than 50 acres of new forest are growing in the tropics" on once-cleared land.

Have we been scammed all these years?
The new forests, the scientists argue, could blunt the effects of rain forest destruction...

The idea has stirred outrage among environmentalists who believe that vigorous efforts to protect native rain forest should remain a top priority.
Why? For sentimental reasons?

41 comments:

Balfegor said...

In fairness to environmentalists, I suspect that new growth on clearcut land is not going to support the same ecosystems or biodiversity as rainforest that's been continually growing in on itself for centuries or millenia, or however long it was since the urban civilisations of the Amazon collapsed into ruin.

TMink said...

I wonder if old growth forests are more active in terms of respiration than emergent growth. That would be important in considering the practicality of the matter.

But old growth forrests are places close to God's heart it seems. Those left in the Smokies are places of magic and wonder. Our souls need to have some of those left pristine.

Trey

Richard Dolan said...

Like your post about the reactions to reports of a drop in teenage promiscuity, good news is a problem for those whose business is programmatic solutions. As Rahm famously said, a crisis is an opportunity too important to waste, and that applies even if the crisis is mostly fantasy or history.

TMink said...

Balfegor wrote: "I suspect that new growth on clearcut land is not going to support the same ecosystems or biodiversity."

I bet you are right. I also bet that a process could be developed and practiced that would intersperse the harvested areas within the old growth areas to minimize the loss.

I am not holding my breath. What we can and what we do are sadly distant at times.

Trey

Host with the Most said...

Have we been scammed all these years?

Good morning! Been sleeping well, have we?

Dogwood said...

Don't remember where I read it, but one study found that land cleared for farming was easily reclaimed by the rain forest once farming ended, provided native rain forest was left untouched around the plot.

Clear cutting large swathes of land, however, made it much more difficult for rain forests to reestablish themselves after farming exhausted the land.

So yeah, many of you have been scammed, but your financial contributions made you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, so it wasn't a complete waste!

Richard Fagin said...

No, it's not for sentimenal reasons. It's because environmentalists, as contrasted with conservationists, are not about protecting the environment. They're about stopping human activity from having any effects on the Earth. When you understand it's about Gaia worship and not about conservation, the rest beccome clear; you can't dispute religious doctrine.

PC said...

Lack of biodiversity is exactly the issue with such "new" forests. CO2 is far from the bottom line of environmental concerns.

I've seen parking lots with greater diversity than certain pine forests...

Cedarford said...

Oh, I suppose that the evironmental cause groups will quickly distinguish between "old growth" jungle and "new growth" jungle - then find some jungle version of the spotted owl that is reputedly endangered across a whole swath of a nation or several nations that MUST be never touched...

And note the story only covers a few lands where jungles are being abandoned by subsistance farmers moving into 3rd World cities. Elsewhere, in overpopulated Asia and Africa, the ravenous demand for wood for charcoal or for Chinese manufacturers - or any speck of arable land they can put a crop on to help feed their family of 13 or so, the rain forest is still being cleared and not replaced.

Synova said...

The tropical forest doesn't wait until farming ends to reclaim territory. Keeping it cut back is a constant struggle.

It was sort of neat (okay, waaaay cool) in Costa Rica they have a tree they call a "tourist" tree, because it has red peeling bark. The biological function of the peeling bark is that when vines crawl up it, the bark peels and it all falls down, keeping the vines from killing the tree. The farmers use it for fences because you put a post in and it either rots or grows, so there are fences made of growing tourist trees that don't get covered by vines.

I'm sure there are very good reasons for keeping old growth forest, but lets be honest that the outrage is for the suggestion that there might not be a crisis.

There *has* to be a crisis.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

The real scam is this --

roughly 15,000 years ago there was no Amazon rain forest, apart for a 100 square mile patch in what is now southern Guyana.

Essentially the entire Amazon basin was a tropical savannah, nearly identical to eastern Africa today.

The world survived just fine.

Bissage said...

Did I just hear you say NEW FORESTS?!?!?!

** slaps thighs **

Well, Dad Gum, boy! . . . don’t just stand there with your mouth open catching flies.

Go start cloning us up a batch of them there Homo erectus!

** snaps suspenders **

We got us some re-populating to do!

Dogwood said...

There *has* to be a crisis.

The entire environmental movement depends upon it.

$9,000,000,000 Write Off said...

I've been reading Europe Between the Oceans by Barry Cunliffe. He writes that Europe used to be a tundra where Upper Paleolithic populations thrived alongside the migrating mammoths and giant rhinoceroses in a rich, active and tasty symbiosis.

But the end of the Younger Dryas produced general warming in that area and the glaciers receded. Soon, TREEs invaded the tundra displacing the large animals migratory patterns and feeding grounds (forests typically contain 25-33% of the fauna found in tundras, savannahs and other open areas.). Human populations were decimated as teh large animals died off, and only a few humans hung on-- those that learned to eat vegetation and store food like damn rabbits and squirrels.

So, fuck trees. They can all go to hell, the murdering sumbitches.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Don't remember where I read it, but one study found that land cleared for farming was easily reclaimed by the rain forest once farming ended, provided native rain forest was left untouched around the plot.

This is the sustainable forestry plans that are in practice now by many private timber lands owners. Sections are logged leaving the surrounding areas large enough to support the bio-diversity needed. Over the years the section that had been logged becomes open space at first for grassy areas. The deer, hawks and owls love it. Gradually the trees that had been planted will grow up and the adjoining areas will over seed and create a new growing diverse forest area. Meanwhile, sections a few hops over are logged. The crop rotation is in terms of decades.

The forest is healthy because it isn't overgrown with pecker pole (technical logging term)trees crowding each other out and crowding out animals. The animal population in old growth crowded forests is very minimal. The best biodiversity is at the edges of the open areas.

Eco-nuts are stupid and rarely have the slightest idea of how nature in reality actually works.

From the air the forest looks like a patchwork quilt, the newest logged areas being more brown and yellow (ground and grass) the older areas with more trees and interspersed with the non logged and very green areas.

RJO said...

The analogy would be to say: Washington is getting crowded and we need more space, so we've decided to pulp all the books in the Library of Congress. But this isn't a big deal -- for every thousand volumes we pulp we're printing up 50,000 more copies of the latest Danielle Steele novel. We'll have even *more* books than we did before we got rid of the LC.

Albatross said...

When humans move out, the jungle will reclaim its land. It's more likely that the planet will kill us and erase any trace of our existence long before we destroy it ourselves.

traditionalguy said...

What's your purpose? do you conflate one category (Absorbing CO2) with another category(being pure and untouched by evil men)? You can try for both just like you can be for fertility of your women folk and for their remaining virgins too. But good Husbandry requires a game plan that is not self destructive because of a simplistic, Truther-type, fixed idea claiming that you cannot arrange a common sense compromise. Then again, how else can the Greenies work their extortion plots on you requiring that you pay them first for their permission to enjoy your own women. CONFUSION IS YOUR ENEMY!

Revenant said...

for every thousand volumes we pulp we're printing up 50,000 more copies of the latest Danielle Steele novel.

I guess that analogy makes sense, if you view a tree in the rainforest as good and wonderful and a tree someplace else as cheap and nearly-worthless. Particularly if (ugh! I can hardly bear to say it) those nasty non-rainforest trees were... PLANTED... by those disgusting HUMANS. Ugh! Ugh! They've got people cooties. If that's the way you view the world then the analogy to Danielle Steele fits perfectly.

Of course, to a person who doesn't view the world that way your analogy's completely retarded.

AJ Lynch said...

Come on Althouse.

Sentimental reasons? It's way more than that. I hear they actually hug trees! Hence their cute nicknames.

Kim said...

It's pretty simple. Envinronmentalists believe that 'nature' (note that for some reason that does not include humans or anything man-made--don't even bother asking where we could have come from) has an intrinsic value apart from man. They could not care less about people. I really like this explanation about why will can never be 'green enough.'

blake said...

roughly 15,000 years ago there was no Amazon rain forest, apart for a 100 square mile patch in what is now southern Guyana.

And that 100 square mile patch?

Started out as a lawn some asshole refused to keep mowed.

Synova said...

I hear they actually hug trees!

Not tourist trees!

Actually... I like this one.

rastajenk said...

So, fuck trees. They can all go to hell, the murdering sumbitches.

That's what Reagan said, isn't it? Albeit, more politely.

Henry said...

Lack of biodiversity is exactly the issue with such "new" forests.

Biodiversity means bugs.

PatCA said...

"We got us some re-populating to do!"

But Bissage, Nancy Pelosi wants to spend millions of your money on condoms to prevent just that!

m00se said...

Purity is important to the environmental movement. It is more important to have "pure" wilderness that "new growth" forests.

Evolution is really the environmentalists enemy. They are the real conservatives...

fcai said...

Learn something about forests, trees and natural succession. Things change, and not everyone wants to live in an urban paradise.

Methadras said...

Of course this is a scam, just like watching the puppet head cry-baby actors on TV pining and weeping for the poor endangered Polar Bear. Nothing more than scare tactics folks, move along.

AJ Lynch said...

Rastajnek said:

"So, fuck trees. "

Patca:

See old botox Nancy Pelosi needed those condoms aferall.

Donna B. said...

I've got these two post-it notes hanging from my monitor. One says "Purity of Ideals" and the other says "Insane Complexity". The link is they will both kill us.

However, Insane Complexity is much more 'natural' than is Purity of Ideals.

Ideals can only come from humans. Complexity is mostly a natural phenomenon.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

It gives a whole new meaning to "whippin' out the woodie," doesn't it?

Sissy Willis said...

Why, you ask? So the environmentalists will have jobs, of course.

Bill Harshaw said...

Your quote compares apples and oranges. The question is whether a "rain forest" can be grown in 50 years. If it can, you've got equilibrium. If not, you've got either expanding forest or shrinking forest.

jayne_cobb said...

So if these new forests are a result of people abandoning farming to work in the city does this mean that environmentalists are going to support industrialization and urbanization?

Richard Fagin said...

Thanks for the link, Kim. Somewere there is a published survey of scientists that shows most physicists, chemists, mathematicians, and electrical, petroleum and nuclear engineers firmly in the "choose life" camp, while many biologists are in the "green worship" camp.

TMink said...

"Lack of biodiversity is exactly the issue with such "new" forests."

Biodiversity is an important issue, but it is not THE issue. Biodiversity can be achieved by throwing a lot of zoo animals into an area and screwing up everything!

Balance is important, sustainability is important, wise use is important, CO2 uptake is important too.

Trey

joebuckley said...

"Have we been scammed all these years?"

Yes.

Revenant said...

Biodiversity is an important issue, but it is not THE issue.

More accurately, it MIGHT be an important issue. We've no reason to think our well-being is in any way, shape, or form connected to the well-being of species dwelling in the rainforests of Brazil. Not even indirectly. We just don't know that for certain. The argument that we need to maintain biodiversity rests entirely on the precautionary principle.

Me, I'm skeptical. The biodiversity of places like Europe and Japan was absolutely devastated by human habitation over the last few thousand years. They chopped down 97% of the forests, exterminated countless species, and converted almost all the land to human use. There is very little truly "natural" land IN Europe these days. There doesn't seem to have been any significant negative consequence to this, aside from the aesthetic loss of not having that stuff around anymore.

len-sp said...

The funny part is that the vast diversity of species in the Amazon have evolved in less than 15,000 years as that jungle grew. Life adapts. And quickly.

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