A new technique for measuring the state of the world's forests shows the future may not be as bad as previously feared.An international team of researchers say its Forest Identity study suggests the world could be approaching a "turning point" from deforestation.The study measures timber volumes, biomass and captured carbon - not just land areas covered by trees. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6143514.stmSebb
Before popping the champagne corks, look at the map at the bottom of the article. The map shows a systematic, global decline in tropical rain forests. The gains elsewhere are encouraging -- though by no means locked in. <*> The "leakage" of deforestation from temperate regions to the tropics may affect climate by changing the rate and method of driving the global circulation. In particular, if removal of forests in the tropics causes drying, more sensible heat and less latent heat of evaporation/transpiration will be added to the atmosphere in the tropics. Will it matter if the air is hotter and drier in the tropics? Might or might not be fun to find out.Also note that the encouraging result was obtained by re-analysis of data. Can one make a strong argument that the world is truly better off with a smaller total area of forests if the forests that remain have an increasing biomass? IMAO, this is an open question -- a question that cannot be answered without reference to the intent of the owners of the forests that are increasing in biomass. If the forests are systematically being regrown for future cutting, <#> the gains may prove to be ephemeral.cassandra<*> One way to reduce net CO2 emissions is to use biomass for fuel. Wood from forests is the classic biomass fuel. One can only guess what will happen in the reforesting nations when petroleum reserves begin to fail. One need not speculate what would happen were the planet's governments to agree to rigorous and enforceable CO2 emission reductions.<#> IMAO, this is sensible forest management. Big trees can yield big boards and big beams. Big trees can also yield large amounts of thin layers for plywood. Small trees must be converted to chipboard for structural applications. Which would you rather have in your house? Big boards and big beams do not emit formaldehyde, et. al., from glues. Sheets of plywood tend to be stronger than sheets of chipboard, and also can have an attractive surface for finishing. Although both might emit noxious fumes, if you were forced to choose one or the other (as you likely would be), which would you choose? [IMAO, particleboard is not structural, and thus is not considered here. i suspect a greater fraction of the small tree than the large tree would end up as sawdust, but i wouldn't and didn't stress this possibility in the above argument.] /**/
Sheets of plywood tend to be stronger than sheets of chipboard, and also can have an attractive surface for finishing.Two small points...not questioning the main issue here...I'm not sure what you mean by chipboard, but OSB (oriented strand board) has greater sheer strength than plywood and, according to my local building inspector (during an earthquake prep class) says that OSB is required instead of plywood in many building codes for sheer walls. Many sources on the web confirm this, such as : http://www.pathnet.org/sp.asp?id=17336Yes, MDF, OSB and particle boards have a lousy finish compared to plywood...but I wouldn't consider plywood as an attractive finish. Obviously I'm comparing to almost any real hardwood or even a pine softwood finish. I'd even take almost any manufactured wood finish over plywood most of the time.Mike
My experience with building materials is limited, partly because my house is about 80 years old and contains real wood from the ancient days when there were still some big trees left.Don't know if "chipboard" is or isn't OSB or if there may be several grades of stuff that looks like random, disoriented chips of wood in a matrix of goop. i don't doubt that a composite material can have superior strength; i don't know if the stuff i call "chipboard" actually has those characteristics. Proper design and implementation (read: $$$) will determine the properties of the composite. i know about particleboard AKA sawdust and glue, the stuff of cheap furniture and IMAO unadulterated cr@p for serious work. i also know that plywood exists, and that "A" surfaces look pretty good to those who have never seen a real hardwood (or quality softwood) board. Perhaps "chipboard" has made major quality gains since i last thought about making anything other than cheap shelving and a cheap platform.cassandra/**/
A new technique for measuring the state of the world's forests shows the future may not be as bad as previously feared.I'm WAY behind on reading this board but I had to add my 2c to this thread (this is a specialty of mine). Are the world's "forests" growing? Let me answer that with this example. Historically the US southeast from Virginia to eastern Texas was dominated by 92 million acres of longleaf pine forests. As a climax community, a longleaf pine forests is often referred to as a longleaf savannah - widely spaced mature pines with a grassy understory. The longleaf ecosystem is a hotbed of biodiversity, averaging something like 40 species per square meter. Today, only 3% of the historical longleaf forest remains. Does that mean that these areas are now unforested deserts? That depends on how you define "unforested" (and it also depends on how you define "deserts"). When the old growth longleaf forests was finally and completely cut over by the 1910s, it was replanted with faster growing species, mainly loblolly and slash pine. These trees are planted close together in rows after the ground has been prepared and all "competing" species have been eliminated with herbicides. In a few years the closely spaced trees form a closed canopy, and few species can make a living in the dark understory - wildlife biologists commonly refer to young pine plantations as "pine deserts". At about the age of 30 or 40 the pines are cut down again and turned into pulp and the process starts over. THAT is the "forest" that stands today in the place where the longleaf forest stood. Is there more biomass - yeah, probably. But, imo, they're not forests. It's just agriculture. But if you just measure biomass and CO2 then yeah, forests are expanding. I imagine you can extrapolate this scenario throughout the world. So let's cut down the rest of the tropical rain forests and eliminate 10s of 1000s of species, and then replant them in one or two species like eucalyptus or chinese tallow that grow really fast and in a few years we can all pat ourselves on the back that the problem of shrinking forests has been fixed.
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