The importance of forestry to curb climate change

2 min. reading
Forestry / 20 May, 2021
The importance of forestry to curb climate change

Karla García Gil Journalist

Silviculture is an activity that consists of controlling the health and quality of forests. The interventions applied in this sense are aimed at maintaining or improving their usefulness with respect to specific objectives such as: the production of timber and other forest goods, the conservation of biodiversity, the provision of environmental services, the protection of watersheds, the maintenance of pastures for livestock and the public function of forests.

The main importance of forests lies in the fact that they are a fundamental means to mitigate climate change. In addition to providing us with multiple goods and services, forests capture carbon dioxide, one of the main greenhouse gases, and fix it in their wood and products, releasing oxygen in the process.

In terms of the energy used to produce them, the use of wood has environmental advantages over steel, aluminum, concrete and brick. Forests are also capable of providing large quantities of biomass, a clean energy that replaces fossil fuels. These are benefits that, under sustainable forest management, forests can continue to provide.

The objective of silvicultural practices, then, is to ensure the sustainability of goods and services by increasing the resilience and resistance of forests, i.e. their capacity to recover and adapt to climate change.

Importance of forestry to take care of our planet

Importance of forestry to take care of our planet

Forests are of great importance to the planet and can be used as a way to combat climate change. That is why forestry is positioned as an important issue in society and a lucrative option for investors.

There are three levels of silviculture in forests:

  • Silvicultural system: is the process by which the harvests (or tree stands) that constitute a forest are protected, removed and replaced by new ones.
  • Silvicultural treatment: is a set of silvicultural operations, in which each of the areas is assigned a specific goal and evaluated independently with respect to its characteristics; for example, locality, slope and soil type, composition, age, diameter distribution and regeneration. Based on this information a silvicultural treatment regime is formulated.
  • Silvicultural operation: is the procedure aimed at achieving the specific objectives of a forest area using silvicultural techniques. Silvicultural operations involve decisions on the type of machinery or other equipment to be used, techniques, work organization and human resources, as well as costs for operations and investments.

Forest degradation

According to the study “The State of the World’s Forests 2020”, published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), deforestation and forest degradation are progressing at an alarming rate. It is estimated that since 1990, about 420 million hectares of forest have been lost, even though the rate of deforestation has declined over the last three decades.

According to FAO, the area of primary forests worldwide has decreased by more than 80 million hectares since the 1990s. More than 100 million hectares of forests are being affected by forest fires, pests, diseases, droughts and adverse weather events, most of them directly or indirectly caused by humans.

In this sense, silviculture aims to protect degraded adult forests, secondary forests, burned forests and plantations, to improve their operation and increase their potential ecosystem goods and services.

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