The Instigator
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Pro (for)
Winning
1 Points
The Contender
iwillannoyyo
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Selective logging is not sustainable.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/7/2012 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,307 times Debate No: 24396
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (18)
Votes (1)

 

Diqiucun_Cunmin

Pro

For a very long time, selective logging has been cited as an environmentally friendly alternative to clear cutting. However, increasing evidence is revealing that this is not the case. As such, I would like to instigate a debate on this matter.

The first round is for acceptance as well as some arguments. The second, third and fourth rounds are for arguments and rebuttals. The final round is for drawing a conclusion.

Definitions:
Selective logging - The practice of removing only certain desired trees in an area, leaving the rest intact.
Clear cutting - The practice of removing all trees in an area, selecting the appropriate wood afterwards.
Sustainable - 'Our Common Future' definition
Deforestation - the land use conversion of a plot of land from a forest to other uses.

Let me now begin my arguments.

Firstly, selective logging affects surrounding organisms. When trees are cut down, plants such as vines, lianas, strangler figs and parasites which rely on the felled tree will have to go as well. Moreover, felled trees will damage surrounding trees, as well as the undergrowth. (1) This reduces the biomass of the forest.

If only trees of a certain species are targeted, their disappearance in that area will lead to a decrease on the biodiversity of the area. Many animals species in forests rely on a scarce food supply and the disappearance of one species of trees may cut off their main food supply. (1) The energy flow of the rainforest will be disrupted and lower in complexity. The resilience stability of the rainforest is lowered.

Secondly, selective logging affects the microclimate of the clearing. The canopy prevents radiation loss, increases relative humidity and lowers wind speed. Without the canopy layer, sunlight can penetrate directly to the forest floor in the daytime, and heat loss will be faster at night. The diurnal range of temperature will be enlarged. The alteration of the habitat will render the clearing uninhabitable to the original inhabitants. At the same time, species that were originally unable to inhabit the area will invade the forest. For example, as the sunlight can reach the ground directly, the undergrowth will become much thicker. This change in ecosystem disrupts the ecological balance and pushes the ecosystem away from a state of equilibrium. (1)

Direct exposure of the soil to sunlight also causes dries up the soil. The loss of litter also intensifies the rainsplash effect and leads to soil erosion in the clearing. The hydrological cycle is damaged as evapotranspiration is reduced and the soil water content is lowered. (1) Studies have shown that selectively logged forests are more prone to droughts and fires even after years of regeneration. (3)

Thirdly, roads created will bring massive damage to the forest. Roads divide the forest into many segments, which affects the migration of animals. Many species of animals can only live along the margins of forests. (1) As the number of roads increases, these animals can breed at a faster rate than is normally allowed as they can also live along the roads. In fact, many logging companies use the increasing numbers of such species to 'prove' that they are not harming the environment. (4) However, this phenomenon is very destructive as the overbreeding of animals used to forest fringes and the depletion of those who prefer the interior will lower the biodiversity and the ecological integrity of the forest. (1)

Perhaps most importantly, the introduction of roads improves the accessibility of the rainforest, thereby encouraging further exploitation of the forest. Many equatorial regions are rich in rainforest resources. These countries are usually poor. Unemployed and homeless people can follow the roads left behind from selective logging and open up the forest to live and cultivate there. (1) Roads also favour clear-cutting. For example, a 2006 study showed that selective logging increases the likelihood of forests being cleared at a later date. 16% of the selectively logged forests are cleared in a year, and a further 5.4% each subsequent year for another four years. (3)

Finally, selective logging itself causes the logging of a giant number of trees. Every year, selective logging in the Brazilian Amazon clears an area of rainforest equivalent to the size of Connecticut. (2)

Despite the many benefits it is thought to bring, selective logging is only the lesser of two evils - and one that will lead to the greater evil too. It is not good news for the biomes which contain half of our world's species among them.

Sources:
(1) HKDSE Interactive Geography 3 (my geography textbook at school)
(2) http://news.stanford.edu...
(3) http://www.pnas.org...
(4) Strangely Like War: The Global Assault on Forests (Derrek Jensen and George Draffan, 2003)

I hope this will be an interesting and fruitful debate!
iwillannoyyo

Con

I accept the definitions brought forth by the Proposition, however I would like to point out that the definition of "Sustainable" can be interpreted differently by different people. For the purposes of this debate, I will act under the assumption that "Sustainable" means the ability for a natural resource to endure. Following this definition, I find that some of my opponent's arguments are off topic and unrelated. Sustainability in this debate refers to the ability for the trees to endure. The loss of animals or plants; though regretted, does not affect the sustainability of the trees.

Furthermore, I am not aware if this is a Policy or Values debate or if those types of debate even exist on Debate.org. Therefore, I would greatly appreciate it if the Proposition cleared that up but I will act under the assumption that this is a Values debate as the Proposition has not already brought forth a plan.
I would like to point out some flaws in my opponent's case before I get into my constructive arguments:

In my opponent's first point, he mentioned how the felling of a certain type of tree in a certain area will lead to the decrease of biological diversity. But this is simply not true. It is true that selective logging focuses on a specific type of tree, but not every tree in an area is felled. For example, if loggers decided to log down oak trees they would not cut down every oak tree within a square kilometer. Animals will not lose their food supply as only trees of harvestable size are harvested. Any young tree is left alone to continue the biodiversity and to continue supporting the animals in the region.

My opponent also mentioned plants living the tree that is felled would be damaged and undergrowth would be squashed. However, this is true with any sort of deforestation yet with selective logging the damage is reduced greatly compared to clear cut logging as not every tree is cut down. Furthermore, loggers attempt to guide the tree to the ground, minimizing damage to the undergrowth.

In the second point, my opponent explained how the micro climate would be affected by the logging of certain trees. However, the climate change would be extremely minimal as only certain trees are cut down. Furthermore, after logging loggers generally will reforest the trees that they have logged down with the same species of tree providing more canopies to minimize climate change.

Finally, my opponent mentioned the destruction caused by the building of roads. However, the construction of roads is prohibited in National Forests. There are various other ways of transporting felled logs out of an area that does not harm the environment in a serious way. For example, heli-logging uses helicopters to vertically lift the log out of an area.

My opponent has also mentioned that areas that have been previously selectively logged have a higher chance of being logged in the future. However, that is the purpose of reforestation and selective logging and I will be getting more into this point in my constructive arguments.

I would also like to point out that while selective logging is not perfect; it is a far better option than other forms of logging and far more sustainable. Though selective logging may remove an area the size of Connecticut, but clear-cutting would remove an area many times greater.

I will now continue on to my first contention, which is that the main factor influencing selective logging's ability to be sustainable is the logging methods and reforestation. I will present my second, third, and fourth contention in the respective rounds.

Loggers are aware of the environmental damage caused by clear-cut logging. That is why selective-logging was created. The idea is that some of the trees that are suitable for logging will be logged and the younger trees will remain untouched. The purpose of this is for those young trees to grow into the large trees that were cut down. This way, after several years the loggers can return to cut down those younger trees that weren't cut before. Once again, they don't touch the younger trees. Several years later, these loggers return. This cycle continues, ensuring a sustainable source of trees. We can compare the trees to the life cycle of a human. In the forest, there are middle-aged trees, young adult trees, and then teenage trees. The middle-aged are removed and new babies are inserted. The young adults grow into the middle-aged, the teenage grow into the young adults, and the babies grow into teenagers. The middle-aged are removed…

Not only that, but reforestation efforts are increasing. New saplings are planted in the areas that have been logged already, thus the cycle becomes continuous. Brazil projects to have reforested 1 billion trees by the year 2013. Thus, we will have near limitless supplies of trees, clearly a living embodiment of the term "Sustainable".
So what have we learned today? We learned that through logging and reforestation, we can achieve a balance between the rates of logging and the rates of growth in young trees.

Sources:
Science Focus 7
http://logging.about.com...
http://www.redorbit.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Diqiucun_Cunmin

Pro

Thank you, iwillannoyo, for accepting the debate.

Firstly, let me post the 'Our Common Future' definition of 'sustainable' lest my opponent should have any difficulty finding it.

'Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.'

In other words, sustainable development refers not only to the sustainability of trees, but also of the forest ecosystem, its energy flow, nutrient cycle, ecological pyramids, and such. In addition to environmental concerns, sustainability must also take into account social and economic sustainability.

Let me then refute my opponent's counter-arguments.

Firstly, even though the loggers only cut down the stronger and older trees, the removal of such trees reduces the genetic diversity of that type of tree within the area. Furthermore, as these trees have better genes than the weak ones that are left uncut, the stronger genes are removed from the gene pool. This means the existence of this type of tree in the area is more vulnerable than before. Moreover, since only weaker and younger trees are left in the area, the animals which rely on the trees for food will lose a major portion of their food supply.

Secondly, because of the continuous nature of the canopy, felled trees, especially taller trees (i.e. emergents and canopy trees), inevitably damage surrounding trees, even with techniques such as directional tree felling. It is estimated that for every tree logged, thirty are hurt. Furthermore, the stability of the trees are lowered as the networks of vines are disrupted. (2)

In response to the fact that loggers sometimes reforest the trees after logging, forests after selective logging are generally unable to regenerate quickly because trees need a lot of sunlight to regrow. A large, open area where all of the sunlight can reach the ground directly is more favourable for regrowth. Moreover, loggers often do not wait enough time for the trees to grow again. The loggers of the Amazon are one such example. (3) This shows that economic and environmental sustainability conflict when it comes to selective logging. Also, machinery involved in logging always damages trees. (1 and 2) Studies have also shown that selectively logged areas are more susceptible to forest fires. (5)

Although it is against the law to construct roads in national forests, anti-logging laws are often not carried out because of various reasons, including collusion between the government and corporations, bribery and corruption, and lack of manpower. The Brazil Environmental Protection Agency, for example, only collects 6.5% of the fines it imposes. Moreover, every inspector in Brazil has to look after 41 000 square kilometres of forest. Therefore, it is difficult to monitor logging activities. (1) Even in democratic countries such as the United States, collusion between the private sector and government officials is a serious problem. Moreover, multinational corporations from the United States, Britain, France, Belgium and Japan often try to control government officials of developing countries in order to log illegally. (4)

I will not refute the constructive arguments put forward by my opponent because I believe I have sufficiently addressed these points in the arguments above.

Sources:
(1) HKDSE Interactive Geography 3 (my geography textbook at school)
(2) http://www.ehow.com...
(3) http://www.pnas.org... html?sid=f0277676-d603-4d2e-9d6d-7c474bdbbd40
(4) Strangely Like War: The Global Assault on Forests (Derrek Jensen and George Draffan, 2003)
(5) http://conservationbytes.com...
iwillannoyyo

Con

iwillannoyyo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Diqiucun_Cunmin

Pro

My opponent's account is no longer active. It seems that I have to go through the rest of the rounds, then.

Vote pro.
iwillannoyyo

Con

iwillannoyyo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Diqiucun_Cunmin

Pro

Vote Pro!
iwillannoyyo

Con

iwillannoyyo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Diqiucun_Cunmin

Pro

Vote Pro!
iwillannoyyo

Con

iwillannoyyo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Diqiucun_Cunmin 4 years ago
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Where should I post it?
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
Post this debate on the forums
Posted by Team_Crazy 4 years ago
Team_Crazy
I agree with you however when you say if only they chose a certain species of trees to cut down then that could very well mean that it could end a species of animal because they need whatever that particular type of tree has that isn't in other trees. I can see you know your information and so you should know the importance of each species of trees. There are endangered trees in Tasmania that are only found there and nearly caused deaths of three species of animals because one animal lived and ate things that that particular tree had and therefore all the creatures who ate that animal or ate the animal who ate that particular animal would grow hungry and die causing a major dint in the life cycle that goes around.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
You are very passionate about this issue.
Posted by DCH 4 years ago
DCH
16kadams - if your version of tree farming does not harm the forest then where do the bids go? You said you would rather have paper than birds.
Posted by Diqiucun_Cunmin 4 years ago
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Since technology for making paper with other fibres is not yet mature, it is unlikely that such materials will completely replace wood. Timber plantations are just to make trees without touching the existing forests - it doesn't add to biodiversity, merely avoid further damage of it. Logging, however, inflicts further damage on biodiversity.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
That's assuming we have the power to cut down that many trees, and it also shows you don't know how paper is made.

Making paper the way we do increases tree count. We grow certain trees just to be cut down. Like how we grow some potatoes to eat. So if we stop making paper we do right now those farms become normal farms, hence less trees. If we get rid of potato farms there are less trees.

So no, I am saving oxygen not losing it.

*Liberal eco myth you used btw*
Posted by DCH 4 years ago
DCH
16kadams- if you would chose to forfeit your share of oxygen please deforest and have all of the tree pulp paper you like. The rest of us would prefer to keep breathing and make paper from other sources of fiber. diqiucun- how is clear cutting different ecologically from tree farming? As far as diversity goes it is the same.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
I would rather have paper then birds.
Posted by OneElephant 4 years ago
OneElephant
It's not really better. Sustainable means that the activity has the capacity to endure, which is something that relies more on how much we log than how we log.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
Diqiucun_CunminiwillannoyyoTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: FF