Reforestation of Forests & Woodlands

Reforestation is the rebuilding of existing forests and woodlands which have been depleted. There has recently been an increased demand for reforestation. Whether it is due to global warming, endangered species, or supplies needed in everyday life, such as houses, paper, furniture, etc., reforestation is quickly becoming a reality. The term reforestation can also be referred to as afforestation which is the process of restoring and recreating areas of woodlands or forest that once existed but were once removed or destroyed at some point in the past. The resulting forest can provide both ecosystem and resource benefits such as pollution and dust control.

Reforestation of large areas can be done through the use of rope for measuring the accurate spacing of plants and the use of augers for making the hole in which a seedling, plant or tree can be placed. Indigenous soil inoculants can be also used to increase survival rates in hardy environments.

An issue that has been widely debated in managed reforestation is whether or not the succeeding forest will have the same biodiversity as the original forest. If the forest is replaced with only one species of tree and all other vegetation is prevented from growing back, a monoculture forest similar to a field of agricultural crops would be the result. However, typically reforestation requires that seedlings taken from the area be replanted. More frequently multiple species are planted as well. Another important factor is that natural regeneration of a wide variety of plant and animal species can occur in an open area. In some areas the suppression of forest fires for hundreds of years has resulted in large single aged and forest stands with single species. The logging of small areas and prescribed burning actually increases the biodiversity in these areas by creating a greater variety of trees and ages and species.

Reforestation can be used for more than accidentally destroyed forests. In some countries, such as Finland, the forests are managed by the wood products and pulp and paper industry, where trees, like other crops, are replanted wherever they are cut. In such circumstances, the cutting of trees can be carefully done to allow easier reforestation. In Canada, systematically, the wood product and pulp and paper industry replaces many of the trees it cuts, employing large numbers of summer workers for planting trees.

Reforestation, if several native species are used, can provide other benefits in addition to financial returns, including restoration of the soil, rejuvenation of local flora and fauna, and the capturing and sequestering of many tons of carbon dioxide per year.

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