Sustainable management

Sustainable management 

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Exponential growth

  • The human population is growing exponentially.
  • Humans are using intensive methods to exploit our environment.
  • This can destroy or destroy ecosystems, reduce biodiversity and make certain resources extinct. 
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Small-scale timber production - coppicing

  • Coppicing is a traditional approach to obtaining a sustainable supply of wood.
  • It is a method of harvesting wood whilst keeping the tree alive.
  • Involves deciduous trees
  • Cut close to the ground.
  • Several new shoots start to grow.
  • They are quite thin and can be used for fencing, firewood or furniture.
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Small-scale timber production - pollarding

  • This involves cutting the tree higher up the trunk.
  • Useful when their is a high deer population as they like to eat shoots from a coppiced trunk.
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Small-scale timber production - rotational coppici

Woodland managers use rotation coppicing to provide a continuous supply of wood.

  • The wood is separated into different sections.
  • By the time they want to coppice the first section again, the new stems have matured enough to be cut.
  • Some trees are left to grow larger than others and are called standards
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Small-scale timber production - rotational coppici

Rotational coppicing is good for biodiversity.

When a wood is left unmanaged, it follows a path of succession which leads to a limited amount of light reaching the wood floor.

This means that fewer species can live there.

Using rotational coppicing means that different areas of woodland provide different habitats.

In turn, this increases the diversity of species in the woodland.

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Large-scale timber production

This often involves clear-felling all the trees in one area. This can destroy habitats and is very rarely used in the UK.

Clear-felling trees can reduce soil mineral levels, leaving soil susceptible to erosion. This leaves soil to run off into waterways, pollution them.

  • Trees would usually remove water from soil and stop soil being washed away by rain
  • Trees would usually maintain soil nutrient levels through the trees' role in the carbon and nitrogen cycle.
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Large-scale timber production

Leaving a woodland to mature for 50-100 years allows biodiversity to increase. However, this is not cost-effective. Modern sustainable forestry works on the following principles:

  • Any tree which is harvested must be replaced by another tree
  • The forest must maintain its ecological function regarding biodiversity, climate and mineral and water cycles
  • Local people should benefit from the forest

Selective cutting means that only the largest, most valuable trees are harvested. The habitat is therefore broadly unaffected.

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Large-scale timber production

If each tree supplies more wood, fewer trees will need to be harvested. To achieve this, foresters;

  • control pests and pathogens
  • only plant particular tree species where they know they will grow well
  • position trees optimal distance apart
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