Trees are great. Imagine the design brief for a tree – create something that makes oxygen, absorbs carbon dioxide, fixes nitrogen, distils water, stores solar energy as fuel, makes complex sugars and food, creates micro climates, changes colours with the season and self replicates. Now let’s chop them down and turn them into wood chips for export at a fraction of their true value. Brilliant!
Trees are the lungs of the Earth. They absorb carbon dioxide (the stuff that we are releasing faster than the planet can handle) during their lives and produce oxygen (the good stuff that we breathe). They provide habitat, food and shelter for millions of species. They also stop erosion and help control ground temperatures.
Trees take up space that can be used for grazing cattle and sheep or planting crops. The only problem is that the trees have to be chopped down for the grazing and cropping to happen.
According to CSIRO, Victoria has suffered from the most land clearing since white settlement just 170 years ago.
We all know that we need timber products for our daily lives, but we don’t need to destroy old-growth forests to do this. Plantation forests are the way to go. They take 20–30 years to grow but old growth forests take 800 – 1000 years to return to their former glory.
Of course it’s easier, carries no responsibility and is clearly more profitable to chop down an old-growth forest than to grow your own. But it just seems plain wrong for one tiny group to profit out of an enormous loss to all Australians. What do you think?
Our Cool School provides resources for teachers on ‘Wildlife’ for grades 1-10.