Monday, December 5, 2016

Myth of the Month

Is this deforestation?
I was working with one of our design folks on a web-based course my colleagues and I were putting together for teachers. The course is going to be called “Teach for Forests” and will be coming out in 2017.  It was interesting to note that I ran into this very myth with my course designer.  I was putting together a section on forest history which discussed the era of exploitation from the late 1800’s through the early 1900’s, when most of Pennsylvania’s northern tier was essentially clear cut.  She thought this meant the land deforested and the forest was gone.  I had to spend time explaining to her that just because the trees were cut didn’t mean the land was no longer “forest” land.

This is the same site as above in the 2nd growing season.
This was eye opening to me.  I thought that was obvious, too many it is not.  So, be careful when talking to those that are uniformed.  Be sure to explain the difference.  Deforestation is what most hear, especially teachers, about the rainforest when the forest is cut and changed to another use, most often agriculture, thus…deforested.  Harvesting timber, even clear cutting, is NOT deforestation.  That land is still considered “forest" land and will grow a new crop of trees available for harvest someday, as long as the land use doesn't change. 

Myth: Timber harvesting and deforestation are synonymous. 

Fact: A forest can be harvested and still maintained as a forest. By contrast, deforestation is the conversion of forested land to non-forested land. When deforestation involves the conversion of forested land into developed land, this change is usually permanent because developed land is almost never converted back to forested land. 

U.S. Forest Service R&D Newsletter - December 2016

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