Clearcutting is one technique or method used to harvest trees for use, such as making furniture. This section studies the economic benefits of clearcutting forests and environmental concerns using this technique. Some of the concerns discussed will include increased soil erosion and increased flooding in clearcut areas.
One other concern to study regarding clearcutting is the impact on air pollution by absorbing pollutants. Field Elm and the Norway Maple are types of trees that absorb pollutants. One major pollutant is Carbon Dioxide (CO2) that is taken up by trees and used in the process of photosynthesis.
Green plants use sunlight with CO2 and water (H2O) to make sugars or food in plants. The cutting down and burning of trees release increased amounts of CO2. This increase adds to the greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere that contribute to climate change.
Clearcutting is the most profitable method of harvesting timber and at the same time the most environmentally damaging. By taking all of the trees in a given area, the natural habitat is completely destroyed. Often to access the trees, smaller plants are first cleared away using herbicides (plant poisons). This introduces toxins to the environment as well as removes all plants that are holding soil in place. Without any plants, when it rains a lot of the nutrient-rich soil is lost to in runoff. This process leaves a scar on the land that takes a very long time to recover. More sustainable methods leave some trees in place. These trees not only hold the soil in place and provide shelters for animals but are able to generate the seeds that will regrow the forest.