DEBATE OF '98- Earth's forests are shrinking

BOBNDWOODS bobndwoods at
Tue Apr 21 23:41:10 EST 1998

In article <0azT8IAe2mO1Ew6e at>, Theo Hopkins
<thopkins at> writes:

>At the moment, forests are only shrinking in the tropical regions.
>Overall, in the temperate and boreal forest regions, forest areas are
>increasing, either due plantation and/or natural regeneration after
>being cut over and abandoned (eg USA?), or the reversion of abandoned
>agricultural lands to forest (eg Sweden), or afforestation of land that
>has not been forestsed in historical memory (UK).
>Most environmentalists are worried about the absolute loss of tropical
>But many forest environmentalists are concerened that the increase in
>forest quantity in the temperate and boreal forest regioins has been at
>the expence of forest quality and divesity, due to present industrial
>forestry methods and management philosophies. In the tropical regions
>there is both a loss of quantity _and_ a loss of quality where forest
>has been regenarated.

I have not seen the most recent F.S. survey data (Steve, is it published yet?).
 My general observation in Alabama and other Southern states is that forest
land has increased in the last 60-70 years due to the reclaiming of old
agricultural land.  However, this process has slowed while commercial and
residential development of forest lands has increased.  I believe the pendulum
may be swinging the other way once more.

Anyone else see this trend in hard numbers or gut instinct?

Bob Miller
Alabama Registered Forester

~~~> The forest may be quiet, but that doesn't mean all the snakes have left.

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