Harmful Effects of Clear Cutting in Regards to Erosion

Question

Paper details:Each student will submit a 3-5 page term paper on the assigned topic. If there is a topic that a student is interested in, please contact me to review appropriateness. The term paper is due by the end of week 8 of the term. Upload into Bb (preferred) or email to the instructor. ◦Headers and other organizational elements are required. A template is provided with the term paper instructions on Bb. ◦Use 1-inch margins and 1.5 line spacing with 12 point Times New Roman or similar formatting. ◦The paper must be at least 3 full pages long and no more than 5 pages. The title page and reference section do not count toward the page count. ◦The paper should be free of spelling and grammar errors. ◦The term paper should have in-text citations and corresponding reference section. References should follow APA (American Psychological Association) style. ◾A minimum of five (5) different citations are required. ◾They should be primarily be scientific and/or government journals, websites, or books. Up to one (1) may be a online reference source such as Wikipedia.       Use the term paper to explore using the scientific method. The paper should have the following sections: 1.Discuss what you assumed you knew about the subject prior to starting the research (your hypothesis), 2.answer what you learned about your subject, and 3.discuss what was different from your initial understanding and how the research has changed your opinion, if that is the case.   Topics are to be selected from the following unless otherwise arranged: •The biological process of how red tide occurs •Harmful effects of clear cutting in regards to erosion •Microlending in the third world (in regards to environmental sustainability) •Induced growth and the growth management act (in regards to environment and forestry) Note: A sample of what your paper should look like is attached.

Answer

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Contents

Introduction. 1

What I knew before. 1

Research. 2

Conclusion. 3

Works Cited. i

Introduction

Trees and forest cover are fundamental to our survival as human beings on planet earth. They provide us with everything we need to sustain our existence, ranging from food products to energy resources. Moreover, they provide oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide in the air, provide habitats for animals and livelihoods for humans, promote ecological balance, prevent flooding, prevent soil erosion and contribute to the fight against global warming (Freidland, Relyea & Courard, 2012). In spite of these obvious benefits, human beings continue to destroy forest cover through various ways such as clear-cutting. Consequently, half the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years (Rana, 2013).

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According to the Oregon Forest Research Institute (OFRI), clear cutting (also known as clear felling or clear cut logging) is defined as a logging practice whereby most or all trees are uniformly cut down in a single operation in an area and later replanted within two years (Freidland, Relyea & Courard-Hauri, 2012). Logging and construction companies tend to prefer clear cutting as a method of harvesting timber because it is cheap and highly efficient. I have always been very passionate about environmental conservation, and so, my love and concern for the planet has led me to choose this topic. This paper seeks to discuss the harmful effects of clear cutting in regards to soil erosion.

What I knew before

I have always known clear cutting to be a major cause of global warming and desertification. The level of destruction arising from this practice is so severe that I consider the problem to have gotten out of control. I tend to associate it with deforestation, which entails the permanent cutting down of trees and forests in order to make the land available for other uses. The worldwide demand for timber and wood is on the rise because more buildings are being constructed to accommodate the ever-rising population (Keenan & Kimmins, 1993). Due to their abundance, logging and construction companies are turning to natural forests as a source of hardwood and softwood. Authorities, especially in developing countries, are barely able to control logging activities and are reluctant in passing laws to prevent deforestation. This is largely due to bribery and corruption where some government officials are promised a share of the cut if they turn a blind eye to these sometimes illegal activities (Rana, 2013). This laxity by country officials is quickly accelerating deforestation, soil erosion and desertification as a whole. Furthermore, I know that there is a thin line between clear cutting and desertification particularly in countries facing governance problems in the management of forest resources. 

Research

Clear cutting is one of the leading causes of soil erosion worldwide. It aims at creating certain types of forests and to promote specific types of trees that need a lot of sunshine. It is also increasingly being used to clear land for agricultural purposes. Clear cutting can be done in several ways, including the standard clear cut, strip clear cut, patch clear cut, clear-cutting with reserves, selection cutting and slash and burn. The standard clear cut involves removing every tree in the targeted area while the patch clear cut entails removing all the trees in a small area. Strip clear cutting is cutting trees in a row and clear cutting with reserves is cutting majority of the trees and saving a few for other purposes. The slash and burn method entails cutting trees for farming especially in highly populated areas while selection cutting is cutting down trees to be used as timber or to sustain the ecology (Patric, 1976).

Following the cutting down of the trees, nothing is normally left to hold down the soil; therefore, riverbanks erode and deposit sediments into the water creating excess nutrients and increasing the acidity of the water, thus, killing aquatic organisms. A study carried out by the University of Oregon indicates that in certain zones, areas that were clear cut had nearly thrice as much soil erosion than other areas due to landslides (Freidland, Relyea & Courard-Hauri, 2012). Roads constructed during clear cutting redistribute the soil and rocks and leave deep tire marks on the soil thereby interrupting normal surface drainage and making the soil even more prone to erosion. Moreover, it takes away bacteria, worms and fungi that maintain and treat the soil and by extension, reducing the amount of nutrients in the soil leading to under-nutrition of other forest plants.

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Besides, Clear cut logging leads to degraded lands which are less likely to hold and absorb water, thus, causing or even worsening flooding. This is especially risky in low-lying areas or in tropical countries where floods are common (Mohr, Coppus, Iroume, Huber & Bronstert, 2013). At the same time, the destruction of forested areas causes the soil to be unstable, such that even when different types of crops are planted on the same land years later, they turn out to be of low quality and produce fewer yields. This reduces the amount of food and seeds available leading to depletion of seed banks and food shortages. The resulting problem of soil erosion leads to the destruction of habitats, endangerment of many species and ultimately, their extinction.

Conclusion

The knowledge I acquired from this research goes hand in hand with the knowledge I had before concerning soil erosion, deforestation and clear cutting. Degradation of the environment and the eventual emergence of deserts is caused by human greed and people’s desire to create more lands for economic exploitation. However, contrary to what I thought before, clear cutting can be controlled or even prevented altogether if we humans make concerted efforts towards this goal. Afforestation measures should be carried out in an aggressive manner. Relevant authorities and government officials should make laws and amend existing ones to protect natural resources with emphasis on the imposition of stiff penalties to those who carry out illegal logging activities. On the other hand, home builders and commercial developers should be encouraged to use alternative building materials such as cement or synthetic fiber in order to cut down on the demand for timber. Besides, environmentalists should lobby for the creation national parks and forest reserves where endangered species of trees and animals can be protected from wanton destruction.

Works Cited

Freidland, A., Relyea, R. & Courard-Hauri D. (2012). Environmental Science: Foundations and Applications. London: Macmillan.

Keenan, R. J & Kimmins, J.P. (1993). The ecological effects of clear cutting. Environmental Reviews, 1(2), 121-144.

Mohr, C.H., Coppus, R., Iroume, A., Huber A. & Bronstert A. (2013) Runoff generation and soil erosion processes after clear cutting. Journal of Geophysical Research, 118, 814-831.

Patric, J. H. (1976). Soil erosion in the eastern forest: Journal of Forestry, 74(10), 671-677.

Rana, S.V., (2013). Essentials of ecology and environmental science. New York, NY: PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd.

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