Replanting Trees – #3 (5/7)

“Oregon Forest Law requires us to replant the site within two years and it needs to meet “green-up” standards by six. By state law we are required to leave two live trees standing and two downed trees per acre of clearcut harvest. We are also required to protect small, medium, and large fish streams.”

Clear cutting is a way to remove timber from a designated area. It is the the most efficient and safest way, and it mimics natural conditions. But it has many negative effects. Once the trees are removed, there are no more trees shading nearby streams, so the temperature of the water increases. Oxygen levels decrease due to the lack of trees. Another result of clear cutting is the loss of topsoil. Once there are no more leaves that fall and provide the soil with rich nutrients, the soil decreases in quality, which can harm dirt-dwelling organisms. Animals that need the trees for their home are also negatively impacted. The forest biome, a whole balance of interwoven set of ecosystems, is disrupted by clear cutting.

However, the timber industry does take some actions to lessen the impact. After clear cutting, the removal of trees increases soil erosion, which will run into nearby streams and harm aquatic life. In order to combat this, the timber industry makes sure they have clean fresh rock to block off runoff, and they use silt fences or hay bales to filter out sediment. They are required by state law to protect small, medium, and large fish streams. 

Although the timber industry takes actions during clear cutting to protect the environment, there are still many harmful effects of clear cutting. Perhaps they could plant more than two trees per acre, because there can be hundreds of trees per acre before the trees are cut down, and planting only two trees does not seem sufficient. Planting more trees would help stop the negative effects faster, so the requirements should be changed.