In the central hardwood forest region of the US, increasing numbers of land owners are converting crop land marginally into a forest. This is being done to decrease the pressure on the use of existing hardwood species of the forest like black cherry, black walnut, and northern red oak.
In South Africa, about 0.5 percent of land is covered with indigenous forests, and 1.1 percent by forests formed by Total Commercial Afforestation (TCA) and containing trees like pine, gum trees, black wattle, and so forth. This has helped provide wood to be used for charcoal, poles, mining timber, paper pulp, and other commercial applications.
The advantage of planting a tree species, like pine, is it helps check infections the tree is prone to in its native country and climate, thus producing higher production. Pursuant to better growth and higher yields due to afforesting of these alien species, South Africa can produce and export close to two million tons of wood and wood products.
In China, the government has earmarked a bulk amount equivalent to almost 300 billion US dollars that would be completely utilized for afforesting schemes the country is planning. To combat soil erosion in Central and West China, the government has already started the process of converting farmland back to woodland.
Afforestation is the creation of forests on lands that do not have them for some amount of time, such as previous forests that were converted to ranges, though it is also the act of establishing forests on lands that are not forested at all in the past. Its term is also often associated with discussions of carbon sequestration, which is the process of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. While it is intended to restore previously forested regions and help remove carbon dioxide, it is also said to have detrimental effects on diversity and agricultural profits. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of afforestation:
List of Advantages of Afforestation
1. It grows trees that provide wildlife habitats.
At the source of almost every ecosystem are trees, serving as home, place of protection and food source for most animal species, and even us humans. By simply growing them, you are helping wildlife and ecosystems to thrive.
2. It increases the supply of timber and charcoal.
On the commercial side, afforestation is done by companies to grow trees to be able to source timber and charcoal from them. Aside from this, it provides more job opportunities, while helping local businesses with an increased supply of its products as well as benefiting the local economy.
3. It helps resolve the problem of climate change.
Through photosynthesis, trees play an important role in fighting against the greenhouse effect, which is a big contributing factor causing climate change around the world.
4. It helps prevent soil erosion.
As we already know, trees and their roots have a significant role in binding the soil together and preventing the process of desertification or soil erosion, which can cause regions to become useless dry wastelands.
List of Disadvantages of Afforestation
1. It comes with real opportunity costs.
One potentially huge drawback of afforestation is the simple fact that it comes with real opportunity cost, where the transformed lands can no longer be used residential developments and agriculture that are highly beneficial to the society through more supply of food and housing for those who need them.
2. It can affect biodiversity.
Under poor management, this method can result in a reduction of biodiversity in the local ecosystem; introduction of potentially invasive and non-native species; modification of particular biomes; reduced stream flow; and loss of agricultural revenue. As you can see, native grasslands that are converted into forests might not be able to contain the same habitat for local species. Also, mismanaged reforestation efforts could result in the production of a monoculture that lacks plant diversity and lessens the number of available habitats for inhabitants of the forest.
3. It can bring some problems of ecotourism.
If the purpose of afforestation is ecotourism, it may be subject to potential problems that come with ecotourism, such as littering and harm to wildlife.
While you can see the process of afforestation as a positive one, offering a lot of benefits to both the environment and society, it is also accompanied by the fact that it can also bring about some drawbacks. By assessing its advantages and disadvantages, you will be able to build a well-informed opinion on whether it is good for the world as a whole, or not.