Preventing the Loss of Timber

Did you know Canada uses 243 million m³ of wood per year?

Timber Harvest:

Timber is the most commonly harvested wood across the globe without any consideration of its extinction. It is reported that multinational construction cooperates are the largest consumers of timber who manipulates, and exploits the process of timber harvest for their profit. Also, timber harvest not only leads to the destruction of environment but it also have numerous social impacts as well. Timber is used for many distinct purposes and without this resource we may not be able to live the same quality of life. It would be unrealistic to completely prevent the harvest of timber but through certain measures, and steps we can preserve this resource to use it in the long run.
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The Usage of Timber:

ln Canada, 55% of softwood timber such as pine, fir and larch is harvested by construction industries to produce board, plank and furniture (Green, 2011). Maple, Mahogany and Walnut are the few examples of hardwood timber which is used to make pallets, flooring and cabinets for housing (Green, 2011). Interestingly, paper is produced by extracting the cellulose fiber from the cells of a tree while pulp is made by compressing these fibers together (Green, 2011).

The Environmental Impact of harvesting Timber:

Timber harvesting has many long term effects on the nearby surroundings such as elimination of wild species, and damage to soil and water quality (Brenda, 2012).


Logging affects the physical, chemical and biological characteristic of the soil which reduces its productivity and leads to soil compaction, rutting as well as pudding (Brenda, 2012). The soil erosion caused by logging also lead to insufficient nutrients in the ground which ultimately the reduces the growth of plants (Brenda, 2012).


The negative impact of logging on watersheds includes runoff and gully erosion as well as changes in the water table dept which may effect the aquatic life (Brenda, 2012).

Wild Species:

Impact on wildlife is dependent on their habitat's needs, characteristics and population of wild species in the particular area (Jade, 2011). Also, many wild spices are very adaptable to the forest changes while others are not so much (Brenda, 2012). Logging activities in the forests has also disrupted the population of elephants and great apes who starts to roam more widely leading to increases human animal conflicts (Jackie, 2010). The current research suggests that removing all the trees from the forest may a negative effects on amphibians during their later cycles which could lead to decreased numbers of offspring in the future (Mathew, 2012).

The Social Impact of Timber Harvest:

Tropical forests are highly populated by people who live in or nearby the forest and usually depend on the natural resources of the forest which are completely damaged by timber harvesting practices (Maurice, 2009). Here are some effects on the local communities:

1: The communities living near the forest tends to loose the access to wild meat and fish because; after the harvest the region is open for commercial use such as hunting and wild games (Jackie, 2010).

2: Large quantities of soil sediments, chemical and diesel oil from the machinery washed away from the logging cite into rivers and stream which reduces the water quality in the region (Jackie, 2010).

3: The wild fruit trees are either destroyed by degradation of logging or accidental cutting by the machines which results in the loss of vital daily food for people (Jackie, 2010).

4: The loss of vital foods and polluted water sources lead to human health problems among communities with women and children (Jackie, 2010).

5: Since forest is open for commercial usage therefore, the communities are more prone to contracting new diseases from the outsider which they have no immunity for (Maurice, 2009).

6: Due to insufficient amount of timber available, the communities may struggle to survive if their main source of income arrives from selling logs (Jackie, 2010).

7: Women might have to cope with male orientated tasks which requires physical effort as their man go outside the community to seek employment to feed their families (Jackie, 2010).

Dead Standing Timber Harvesting and Reclamation

The Exploitation of Timber Harvest:

Unfortunately, timber harvests only take place for commercial purposes without any regards to the growth or development of the forest (Pesso, 2007). Countless number of trees are removed by construction companies all at once which leads to a sudden drop in timber yield in the region (Pesso, 2007). The Amazon forest is the most notable example of forest being exploited for timber production as well as the extinction of sand flies and canopy (Oswaldo, 2007). Also, the profits from timber trade is not being made by developing countries but instead multinational companies are utilizing all the profit to expand the logging intake per year (Oswaldo, 2007).
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A Step towards the Sustainable Future:

It is very important to ensure that a highly quality of forest is set to replace the region that is recently being harvest for timber in order, to maintain the ecological process steady (Klan, 2009). The process called silviculture in which a forester considers distinct host of variables such as tree species, tree values and market, quality of the site to select an appropriate method for regeneration should be used before harvesting (Eliza, 2010).

Here are the following steps that must be taken:

1: Loggers should consider what is left on the site more important than what is removed (Klan, 2009). Paying more attention to what is left on the ground may enforce companies to use timber more efficiently since; it is non-renewable.

2: Companies may avoid harvesting the "best trees" until a new forest of healthy, and younger trees begin to grow underneath it to reduce the impact on wildlife (Klan, 2009). By removing all the trees all at once could damage the life style of animals because; they will not have the right habitat to survive.

3: Loggers should be responsible for planting new trees after harvesting to allow the healthy young growth (seeds and sprouts on the ground) to compete the weaker trees and the forest will slowly begin to recover (Eliza, 2010). Planting new trees will encourage new species to grow such as plants with fruits which may help the local communities to obtain food.

4:Companies should remove all the trees from the forest after an intense episode of harvesting to prevent the growth of slow-growing trees with poor structure and undesirable species (Klan, 2009). This will reduce the chances of future forest to be composed of trees which comes from the weakest possible parent (Clan, 2009).

5: To prevent the future forest composed of trees from the weakest possible parent, the forest management crew should consider introducing trees with strong genes in order, to increase the life span of the forest. The forest management crew will also try to repair or provide essential nutrients for damage trees which may reduce the chance of extinction (Klan, 2009).

6: To lessen the negative effect on amphibians, scientists have recommended partial or selection cuts to forests rather than completely removing the trees (Mathew, 2012).

Removing only a portion of trees and canopy will allows amphibians to persist better in the future (Mathew, 2012).

Few last words:

Timber is the most valuable natural resource used to build kitchen cabinets, flooring and paper but on the other hand, its harvest has led to serious environmental and social impacts which can't be ignored. Timber harvest affects the composition of soil which lead to soil compaction, it also have a negative impact on the watersheds especially leading to run-offs and at last, the cutting of trees destroys the naturally occurring habitat of wild species which leads to reduction in overall population of animals. In terms of social impacts, timber harvest usually take place in tropical rain forest which is home to many local communities. Thus, the timber harvest has reduced the food resources for the local communities nearby, has polluted the water in the streams, caused damaged to human health and changed the role divisions as men decided to seek work outside the house. Lastly, in order to promote sustainability the loggers are encouraged to plant more trees after harvesting a great amount of timber, cut all the weak trees to have stronger trees in the future and most importantly, use selection cutting methods to save amphibians getting extinct.

Raising Awareness About Timber Harvesting!

This is the summative assignment for CGR4MO.

Created and edited by Danish Mahmood.