ROLE OF COMMERCIAL FORESTRY IN CREATING A NET POSITIVE IMPACT ON DIVERSITY

Commercial forestry refers to the use of land for planting, maintaining and growing trees for the commercial production of timber or other forest products from plantation or natural forest.

Forests provide us with a large number of commercial goods and services for domestic purposes such as firewood, fodder, food, fertilizer, fiber, timber, and medicine for industrial purposes such as timber, plywood, fiberboard, gum, resin, rubber, silvichemicals, pulp and paper production.

Productivity is enhanced by proper manipulation of silvicultural and nutritional requirement (use of fertilizer, bacterial, mycorhizal and irrigation), disease and pest management, weed control, forest tree breeding for superior genetic traits and use of tissue culture methods. Diversity refers to the variability among living organisms from all sources including terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part this including diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.

Commercial forestry play role in creating a net positive impact on diversity apart from being commercial through the following reasons and activities performed such as:

Reducing pressure to the natural and protected forests

Commercial forestry aims to combat forestry market demand hence m



ore investments are done by the establishment of many plantations for commercial purpose which reduce pressure or overexploitation of forest resources since raw materials such as timber is obtained for purposes like construction hence saving natural forest and conservation forest from being harvested to get such products which in turn conserve diverse of plant and animal species which obtain habitat on such forest while fulfilling the demand of forest products also apart from commercial products the local or surrounding community benefit through employment opportunities and obtaining forest products such as firewood and farmland. Also through Taungya system practised in the forest plantation management where local people are allowed per contract to plant agricultural crops in the plantation when the trees are planted while tending to small trees until when they reach the stage where the canopy covers the soil hence shading the crops the farmers are moved to the newly planted farms hence saving the protected forest to conserve environment and diversity.   

Zonation

This refers to different management zones created in the forest such as buffer zones, protection zones and production zone which divide the forest into different categories according to the environment and uses whereby there are zones which act as a boundary, fire protection and protection of diverse species which may be endemic species which refers to plants and animals that exist only in one geographical region or catchment areas conservation which play role in biodiversity conservation.

Research

More researches are carried for commercial forestry to be successful such as site matching with species to be planted and obtaining more adaptive and resistant tree species with marketable characteristics such as straightness and diseases resistance through such research diverse tree species are grown in nurseries, seed stand and orchards hence conserve some species which might be endangered for extinction

Conservation

Commercial forestry play role in the conservation of biodiversity and environment by conservation areas made in the forest plantations to preserve different native species and catchment areas within the forest area or nearby environment which consist of water sources and many plants and animal species, these areas also contribute to environmental conservation in the whole region also well growth and management of the forest plantation for commercial purposes as they act as a barrier for spread of the pest, diseases and fire to the whole plantation from one compartment to another this is important since most of the plantation consists of similar tree species when attacked by a pest, diseases or fire it’s easy to spread throughout hence hindering productivity of the forest. 

Environmental education

Through commercial forestry, the surrounding community get environmental conservation education and exposure to many benefits of forest products with the knowledge about negative impacts on overexploitation of the forest resources and different management techniques to use when they want to engage in the forestry industry such as planting trees for commercial purposes which contribute to environmental conservation and positive impact on diversity due to awareness and contribution of local people, private forest owners and the government in environmental conservation. 

Reforestation

This refers to planting trees after cutting them through the commercial forest the availability of forest product is needed continuously to combat forest marked demand such as timber for sawmill, pulp and paper industries hence the presence of different harvesting rotations such as first and second rotation after being harvested, through continuous harvesting and planting this contribute to environmental conservation apart from harvesting trees for commercial purposes without planting again and continue to harvest other trees.


Afforestation

Due to the high demand for forest products such as timber and non-timber products such as medicinal plants, gum, resins and fruits also the need for commercial forestry increase so this leads to the opening up of another bare land for planting trees for commercial purposes to combat the demand of the market hence afforestation which refers to the planting of trees in the area where there were no trees contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and rising living standard of the nearby community by engaging on different plantation activities such as the establishment of the nursery, weeding, pruning and thinning while conserving natural resources such as catchment areas and endemic species which found in the forest or nearby environment.

Carbon sequestration initiatives

Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

It is the method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of reducing global climate change.

For carbon dioxide capture and storage to be a truly effective option on efforts to mitigate climate change, it must be sustainable whereby planting trees help slowing down the process of heat-trapping by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, trees act as a carbon sink by collecting atmospheric carbon and storing them in the tree trunk. Through commercial forestry by planting many trees lead to the increase of the capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide, also through such process carbon dioxide capture and storage have a positive impact such as the increase of soil carbon storage which in turn increase infiltration, fertility and nutrient cycling in the soil, decrease wind and water erosion, minimize compaction, enhance water quality, decrease carbon dioxide emissions, and generally enhance environmental quality and diversity.

Habitat for wildlife

Wild animals such as birds and lizards use trees for shelter, building nests, for food source and storage, mating and hibernation, with deforestation occurring around the world these animals are becoming endangered by commercial forestry through planting more trees the chance for natural environment to thrive is increased, apart from wild animals there are also much natural flora and fauna that are protected by trees in the forest. 

Gene flow and gene conservation

The loss of genetic resources of trees species in forest ecosystems is through selective cutting and full harvesting of the forest plantation whereby gene flow can be mediated by pollen, seed and seedling dispersal but the ultimate goal of gene conservation is to preserve as many alleles and allelic combinations as possible. The specific objective of gene conservation depends on the potential uses of the conserved genes while many plantation forests are dominated by exotic tree species such as eucalyptus species and acacia species which originate in Australia.

Gene conservation can be practised through clonal orchards and nurseries hence commercial forestry playing a role in gene conservation and diversity.

Commercial farm forestry and agroforestry

Commercial farm forestry refers to a program that promotes commercial tree growing by farmers on their own land and agroforestry referring to the planting of trees together with agricultural crops for diverse products, high productivity, soil conservation and environmental conservation altogether. This can be done in a populated area with small farming areas by farmers without hindering farmers to continue with their agricultural activities but engaging in commercial forestry with environmental conservation. 

The production and use of sustainable forest products

The production of sustainable forest products from commercial forestry such as organic charcoal from the sawdust and encouraging the community to use such products which have influence towards reducing deforestation and raising awareness about the environmental damage caused by illegal charcoal making, also products such as biochar that acts as a source of renewable energy, reduce acidity, increase soil water holding capacity, and climate change mitigation hence positive impact on diversity and environmental conservation.

Since commercial forestry has a net positive impact on diversity, cooperation is needed between the private organizations, community and government in creating a favourable environment in terms of laws enforcement, policies and grants for environmental projects and researches which can be done together with different educational and research institutes.

Prepared by Vitus funga



 


ROLE OF COMMERCIAL FORESTRY IN CREATING A NET POSITIVE IMPACT ON DIVERSITY ROLE OF COMMERCIAL FORESTRY IN CREATING A NET POSITIVE IMPACT ON DIVERSITY Reviewed by EGNO NDUNGURU on April 14, 2021 Rating: 5

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