In our first article in this series, we pointed out the fact that many people have an inaccurate picture of what goes on in today’s lumber industry. Their ideas are, understandably, negatively impacted by the harmful and unsustainable practices of past centuries. It’s important not only from a public relations standpoint but from an educational standpoint for those in the North American lumber industry to help clear the air about the current state of affairs regarding our current lumber practices. This article will go into detail explaining some of the ways the mindset and actions of those in the industry have drastically changed for the better over the years.
Research Led to Reform
There has been a lot of careful research in recent years to determine the most effective ways to regrow forests and yet continue to meet the high demand for commercial and residential construction for our increasing population. One major factor the experts have determined is that it’s absolutely crucial for a general number of old growth trees to remain in each area where lumber harvesting is taking place. That’s why clear cutting is no longer legal in many parts of the country. These necessary changes are part of a concerted effort to keep the forests robust and healthy for future generations.
Results of the Reforms
As a result of the banning of clear-cutting and the resolution to allow a certain number of mature trees to remain uncut, some things in the industry have had to change. For one, modern lumber sometimes has to come in narrower, shorter sizes than it did in the distant past. There may, in time, come a day in the future when certain old growth trees could be responsibly harvested, but not anytime soon. Today, only a few select mature trees are ever harvested, and only when it’s determined that they’re blocking younger trees from getting enough sunlight to thrive. It’s a highly regulated, careful process, unlike the haphazard, reckless clear-cutting of the past.
The United States vs. Canadian Forest Health
Canadian forests didn’t suffer as much damage from clear-cutting as United States forests unfortunately have. That’s because there was simply a more vast area of land and a relatively small population, causing less demand for the trees to be cut down. Today Canada maintains strict replanting standards and is very careful about current harvesting practices. The result of these proactive policies is a great new tree population as well as plenty of old growth forests. Canada’s well-managed forests are a blueprint for success that other nations would do well to imitate.
The damage done to North American forests by past unsustainable lumber practices can’t be corrected overnight. It takes a cooperative effort on the part of environmentalists, governments, those in the lumber industry, as well as consumers. In our next two articles in this series, we’ll take a look at what you can do as a lumber dealer, contractor, or a consumer of lumber products to help make sure our forests remain robust and healthy for years to come.