There’s No Such Thing as Sustainable & Profitable Logging in Rainforests


Written by Mat McDermott

You can have one of the two, but not both: Either you can commercially cut down trees in a tropical rainforest that has minimal impact on the ecology of the forest, or you can cut down trees in a way that is profitable, at the expense of the forest. That’s the word from a new study in Bioscience.

Mongabay has its usually thorough account of why this is the case, but the gist of it is as follows.

We know that clear-cutting rainforests, either for logging or converting them to agricultural purposes is bad. But even so-called low impact logging actually has a significant impact on the ecology of a rainforest. Doing so generally leaves 20-50% of the forest canopy open, which increases the risk of fire (otherwise naturally very rare) and changes the composition of the forest in negative ways.

Truly sustainable logging of a rainforest can be done, the report argues, but it would radically reduce the profitability of the effort. Less than five trees per hectare could be cut, only once every 60 years or more, thereby leaving smaller gaps in the canopy. Young trees would have to be avoided entirely. New seedlings would have to be planted in place of those taken.

This post was originally published by TreeHugger.


Related Stories:

Amazon Loggers Caught in the Act

Dangerous Forestry Law Partially Vetoed By Brazil

Deforestation: Fast-Tracking Our Own Extinction


Photo: Sam Beebe/flickr

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Fi T.
Fi T.2 years ago

Allow them the time to recover

Christine Stewart

Please only buy paper products that have recycled paper content!

Rachel De Klerk
Rachel De Klerk3 years ago

They can build rockets but can't figure out a balanced way to grow and cut down trees?? let me help you out...cut only the ones you planted! he hee

Phillipa W.
Phillipa W.3 years ago

agreed. rainforests are self-sustaining. Remove rainforest generally very poor soil is left. So the slash and burn cycle will continue as long as rainforests are targeted as being good locations for plantations. That is something I learnt as a child, yet over 20 years later it continues and there hasn't been any real solution to helping countries rich in rainforests to financially make rainforest preservation financially viable, yet we need them.

Julie H.
Julie Hoffman3 years ago

Smh ppl have to damn knowledge and power to change the world. And they do not because they want money & have money. Man I want this generation & want to teach the older generations to care & learn & change this bull sh*t mess.

Kamryn M.
Kay M.3 years ago

unfortunately those who profit don't care. who needs air tomorrow when they want money TODAY?

Angel Campbell
Angel Campbell3 years ago

This is bad.. but we as individual people need to start making changes with our own actions too. Buy sustainable toilet paper, tissues etc. Recycle where you can and cut down your paper usage.

Lynette B.
Lynette B.3 years ago

Ditto to Aludra N. Couldn't have said it better.

Darlene B.
Darlene W.3 years ago

Blessings to all who love Mother Earth. Those that are destroying her will get theirs in the end--they will have destroyed everything so won't be able to make any more money off it! And I thought those running this country had an education - hahaha - yeah right!

Nils Lunde

We do need air, don`t we?............