Land management for timber has a multi-faceted role to play. It promotes structural diversity and increases wildlife habitat by nurturing the ecological function of the forest. It also fosters diversity of tree sizes and ages and improves water and air quality. However, the most important role of timber management is increasing biodiversity. It increases the ability of a forest to provide shelter and food for fungal species, wildlife, and plants.
If you own a piece of land, you should understand how good and responsible land management will contribute to biodiversity.
Land Management for Timber
Nearly $100 billion of wood is removed globally yearly as ten million people earn their bread and butter in the forestry sector. Land and timber management strengthens adaptation and resilience to climate change. At the same time, well-managed forests also contribute to conserving global biodiversity.
While forests protect biodiversity on earth, this biodiversity is under serious threat. Globally, forests nurture more than 60,000 tree species by covering 3rd of the land mass. According to the UN Environmental Program (UNEP), forests provide habitat for 75% of birds, 80% of amphibians, 68% of mammals, and other invertebrates and fungi.
Over 24 million acres of forest land are lost yearly due to land-use change and deforestation. These challenges seriously threaten biodiversity and call for responsible timber and land management practices.
Before we plunge into the role of land management in increasing biodiversity, let’s understand why nurturing biodiversity is important. Biodiversity promotes healthy forest life and contributes to protecting the planet.
High biodiversity increases forest resilience against threats and environmental changes. The present climate change triggers bark beetle damage. Millions of acres of land have been damaged globally due to an increase in winter temperature. Nonetheless, a diverse forest will limit these damages.
UNEP also emphasizes the relationship between the carbon storage of forests and biodiversity. The report explains that biodiversity promotes the primary productivity and stability of forests. A more diverse forest with a wide range of tree species encourages resilient, healthy, and carbon-absorbing forests. The presence of highly productive tree species allows the forests to use the resources efficiently.
Biodiversity is an evolving science that requires learning and educating. There’s much to find out, but we know one thing for certain, which is that intelligent land management and timber management practices can increase biodiversity.
Role of Forests in Biodiversity
Commercial and private forest management is instrumental in nurturing and increasing biodiversity. Traditionally, natural forests had been richer in wildlife habitat and species composition than their managed counterparts. Today, however, modern land management techniques can replicate similar conditions for forest species through intentional decisions.
Loggers can promote biodiversity cost-effectively and efficiently by sparing retention species and existing deadwood. To achieve these objectives, forest owners should spare valuable but small habitats, prescribed burning n areas, continuous cover that other species need, and create buffer zones around bodies of water.
However, large-scale land management and industrial activities have shifted the forest ecosystem from a naturally governed phenomenon to one under human influence. This transition has a far-reaching impact on forest dynamics and structures. It has resulted in biodiversity loss, causing a decline in ecosystem variability, genetic diversity, and species richness.
Loggers and foresters identify areas with high natural value to compensate for these losses. They set them aside as valuable reserves and put restrictions on these areas. This way, timber management and land management techniques conserve biodiversity. The global targets require landowners and foresters to reserve 17% of the land for biodiversity protection.
The Consequences of Bad Actors
We must acknowledge the damages caused by irresponsible, typically illegal, logging. Overly aggressive and detrimental logging practices have had serious repercussions on biodiversity in the past. A study compared 50% logging, where only half of the trees are cut, with 100% where all trees are taken down. The 50% logging retains most forest diversity, whereas 100% logging greatly decreases biodiversity.
100% logging intensity also has other side effects, including loss and erosion of healthy and rich soils that support the wildlife and generation of tree and plant growth. These high-intensity and irresponsible practices also allow invasive species that can damage the forests.
Need for Responsible Logging
Sustainable logging practices can increase biodiversity and maintain forest health. For instance, responsible logging practices on rich soils have a doubling impact. It fosters biodiversity and enhances resources. Hence, working with a competent and trusted master logging company is important.
If you’re looking for the right partner company to make your woodlands economically productive and diverse, William A. Day Jr. & Sons are the firm you have been looking for. We have decades of experience and master logger certification. Our focus is on balancing the needs and objectives of landowners, which makes us the perfect partner firm for landowners preparing to manage their forests actively. Reach out to us today!