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The Forest Territory Unit 4 Chapter 1

The Importance of Forests

Forests: An Environmental Issue

Forests are necessary for several reasons: They are the natural habitat of many animals A living environment for some people A place for recreation for others Forests are also a resource we exploit to make a wide variety of products

Forests: An Environmental Issue

There are many types of ecosystems in the world (wetlands, environments, forests, prairies, deserts, etc) including a large number of forest ecosystems. As in all ecosystems, when there is a change in a element of this environment, the survival of the species that live there is threatened. Ecosystem diversity is one of the components of biodiversity, which comprises two other interdependent features: species diversity and genetic diversity.

Primeval and Exploited Forests

A forest in which there has been no human intervention is called a primeval or virgin forest. A forest that has been altered by humans is called exploited or artificial forests. Today, primeval forests are found solely in sparsely populated regions that are difficult to get to.

Forests, Soil and Climate

Forests play an extremely important protective role in nature. The roots of trees and plants hold in soil, which prevents its erosion. Their foliage intercepts this water from falling too quickly, which also protect erosion of the soil. Forest soil is made up of humus and moss, which absorbs rainwater like a sponge. When forests are young, trees are growing. They then play an essential role in purifying air. They absorb CO2 and release Oxygen. When then mature, they are less effective in purifying the air.

A Habitat for Threatened Species

A Habitat for Threatened Animals

Many forests are protected because they are home to species threatened with extinction. 2/3 of the Earths plant and animal species live in the forest. Forests provide animals with shelter, food and breeding grounds. The trees also serve as a canopy for many other species of plants, moss, fungi, etc Such biodiversity represents a vast wealth of resources for human beings. Forests provide people with food, fibres for making clothing, wood for heating and housing, medicinal plants, etc

Forests: An Environment for Living and Recreation

Recreational Tourism Activities

Forests are places that are conductive to reacreational tourism, such as: Hiking Fishing Trapping Hunting Observation Mountain Biking Canoeing Since 1996, over 1.5 million Canadian tourists per year have make nature study the main purpose of their trips. Forests are a major tourist attraction. In some countries, natural parks are created in forest regions and are developed (trails, bridges, stairs) in order to preserve ecosystems.

A Living Environment for Native People

For thousands of years, Native people around the world have maintained a special relationship with forests.

In Canada, Native peoples still practice traditional activities, such as hunting, fishing and trapping.
The forest is also an essential element of their heritage. Canadas Native communities (nearly one million people) are established in forest regions.

Forests are also a source of inspiration for many artists.

Forests: an Economic Resource

Traditional Exploitation of Quebecs Forests

From the beginning of the colonization of Quebecs territory to the mid-1970s, every winter, thousands of men make their way to logging camps to cut trees. By floating the logs, the cut wood was then transported to mills. Many of Quebecs regional economies grew at the pace of the exploitation of the forest. Mechanization appeared in the mid-1970s requiring fewer workers and allowing greater productivity. This technology was also safer. Cutting and harvesting operations are carried out mainly by means of a single machine that cuts, delimbs, crosscuts and stacks wood onto trucks.

Exploitation and Reforestation

With the 1986 Forest Act, the Quebec government significantly amended the rules for the exploitation of forestry business. The size of the territories they could exploit and the length of their contracts were now limited. Furthermore, forestry businesses could no longer simply cut down trees; they had to ensure forest renewal, notably through reforestation. Since 1994, the Quebec government has imposed other obligations on forestry businesses. 1. The amount of wood these firms can harvest is limited In addition to reforesting, they must use cutting methods that ensure the protection of regeneration and soil.


Sylviculture aims for sustainable development of forest resources. It maintains and improves the health of forest ecosystems so that current and future generations may be able to take advantage of them, both on the environment as well as on the social and economic levels. Many techniques are used to achieve these objectives:

1. 2. 3. 4.

Cutting for development and regeneration Fighting Forest Fires Sylviculture work like seeding and reforestation Protecting against diseases and insect pests, etc

From Tree to Finished Product

Various Forest Products

Our World and its Issues Unit 4 Chapter 2

Forests around the world

Global Context
Our way of life mainly depends on the exploitation of our natural resources. We consume more and more goods, many of which are wood and other forest products. To meet this demand, the worlds forest regions are being exploited increasingly intensively.

Moreover, these territories face other threats: 1. Forest Fires 2. Pollution 3. Etc

Countries with the Largest Forest Area

Currently, 51% of the worlds forests are exploited for their wood. About 12% are protected and 37% are not exploited because they are inaccessible.

Countries with the Largest Forest Area

All trees need heat, sunlight and rain to grow. The vegetation of a region depends mainly on its climate Heavy rainfall and high temps foster growth in Rain Forests, cold and dry climate foster slower growth.

Reduction of the Worlds Forests

Deforestation is the result of an intensive clearing of trees done in order to commercially exploit wood, use it as firewood or open up new farmland to feed a growing population. Since 1990, 1.3 million hectares of forest have disappeared annually. Mainly developing countries are the cause.

Worldwide annual Production and Consumption of Wood

The growth in the Worlds population has led to an increase in the consumption of forest products. Firewood or fuelwood is generally used in developing countries, where it remains the principal source of energy. Asia and Africa together use of the available fuelwood in the world.

In order to slow down the destruction of forests, it is becoming urgent to find and alternative source of energy for developing and least developed countries.

Exports of Forest Products

With Globalization, the arrival of China, Brazil and Uruguay which have low supply and production costs has made an impact in the international market. A move towards using fast growing Eucalyptus trees in Asia, which are unobtainable in North America to produce paper could have a devastating effect on the economy of North America, especially Canada.

Illegal exploitation of forest is one of the causes of deforestation. The economic problems of certain countries, the clearing of farmland and the demand of exotic wood in industrialized countries can result in the illegal exploitation and export of forest products.

The Threat related to Urbanization of Asia

The Threat related to Urbanization in Asia

Forests in developing countries are currently the most threatened in the world, particularly because these countries are experiencing rapid urbanization and strong population growth.

This growth in the population leads to in increase in the demand for agricultural products, which explains the fact that the clearing of land for agriculture is responsible for approximately 45% of the reduction in tropical rainforests.

Enemies of the Forest

Enemies of the Forest

According to the FAO, an average of about 104 million hectares of the worlds forests are affected each year by forest fires, pests (notably insects and diseases), drought, wind, snow, frost or floods. This number does not take into account disturbances that have occurred in certain developing countries, because data are often unknown or insufficient. These are some of the known enemies of the forest: 1. Acid Rain 2. Deforestation 3. Soil Erosion 4. Clear Cutting

Possible Solutions

Possible Solutions
Possible solutions to prevent the destruction of the forests are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Reforestation Nature Preserves Green Activists (Public Pressure) Tree Plantations Sylviculture Transgenic Trees (not recommended!!) Ecolabelling Ecotourism