Monday, 20 April 2009

Replanting the Rainforests: Tree Avalanching 1

I must admit that I didn't hear the term "Tree Avalanching" till I came across this article. But as I have to write things about this subject, this post is, more or less, heavily dependent on that article. In other words, this is nothing but my reinterpretation.

The article begins with a theory I talked about in this post – that we should not just plant trees, we should restore the forests. To quote the article, replacing deforestation with reforestation must meet the following three requirements:

  • The trees must be able to fund land preservation.
  • The trees must be able to diversify.
  • The trees must be able to fund more acquisition of more land.

Point # 1:
What use is tree plantation or reforestation if we aren't able to protect it? We have to preserve the land where we are reforesting. Otherwise, it'd become a victim of tree poaching. As the article indicates, we don't need another law to protect the forest. We need activity.

Point # 2:
This is pretty simple. We need a variety of trees. And "continuous monocrop plantations of trees all of the same age" face a huge risk. The trees easily fall prey to insects, pests and diseases. Naturally, they would spread more easily when there's only one kind of tree in a particular area than when there are various trees. Can we really call something a forest if it had only one species of tree?

Point # 3:
This is best explained like this:

Most reforestation efforts are being spent on plantations, not on genuine new
forests. We use the term "reforestation" a lot, but in reality, unless the lands
are permanently returned to forest, you are not reforesting, you are raising a
crop of trees. Tree plantations can reduce commercial pressure on remaining
forests, but they are not themselves new forests. Just like a loss of trees is
not deforestation unless the land usage permanently changes, it isn't
reforestation unless the end result is a forest.

Now let's come to the point of the post – Tree Avalanching.

There is a way to pay the trees. We call it the Tree Avalanche. The Tree Avalanche works by using donated trees to create a pioneer forest of valuable wood. Among these trees are also planted the succession trees that will make up the more mature rainforest. Most tropical succession trees require shade to grow; that's why planting pioneer species speeds up the creation of the new forest.

The article explains this with a beautiful story we all have read in our childhood. It's about a king and a beggar. The beggar wanted something really negligible from the king. The following day, he wanted twice that amount and so on. It would have continued for days if a mathematician hadn't pointed out that the king would go bankrupt after a few days.

At first, the pioneer trees are planted. Over a long period of time, the succession trees are planted. But the pioneer trees are gradually removed. That'll not only make way for the new trees but will also bring money for improving the forest. This programme serves all the requirements simultaneously.

Firstly, after removing the pioneer trees and planting the succession trees, we will have a true, diversified forest.

Secondly, we can invest the money earned from the pioneer trees on planting more trees. Note that we'll not chop trees mindlessly. We will just remove and sell the "sellable" parts without harming the forest in any way. That will make the forest cover greater. Therefore, we'll have a greater area of forest.

But there's something it can't do. We will have to do that. We will have to protect them. But that isn't a very difficult task. If there's enough job opportunity for the local people in and around the forests, that'll do. Not only will the forest help them earn their bread, but it will be loved and protected by them. Isn't that the best possible protection?

I just realised that I learned a lot more about reforestation after writing this post. But have to stop now. Expect more posts on this.

Donate something, if you wish.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, but it would be better if in future you can share more about this topic. Keep making good posts.