Saturday, February 27, 2010

Looking After Our Forests

By Jack A. Burton

How can we make sure that our forests are going to be here for generations to come? How can we insure that we are not going to make the same mistakes that were made in the past? In the past we have ripped into our forests as if they were a never-ending supply of timber. Now, some of our best assets have been ripped out of the ground and is very difficult to see a time when we will ever have such forest resources again.

The problem is that economics is always going to take a front seat when it comes to producing anything and that includes forest growth. But if we don't rein back on exactly how we are looking after our forests, then we will have no forests in the future. At the end of the day, everybody needs a pay check; the people who are working in the forest are never going to be willing to do the work for nothing, so we have to profit from what we are doing. But if the profit is the ruination of the source of the profit then we are doomed.

Our forests have kept whole communities going for generations. There are many families who have worked in nothing else except the forestry industry, their families have been built on forestry, businesses have been built around forestry, indeed there are whole communities that have been established and arisen because of the need for forestry workers. And if we are to keep the long-term sustainability of this forestry we have to act smart. We must implement a best forestry practice which at the end of the day means sustainable forest management.

In Irish forestry, as in forestry anywhere, the responsibility for the implementation of sustainable forest management is not only the responsibility of the management. It is also the responsibility of the guy who plants the trees, the guy who fells the trees, the guy who transports the trees to the mill, the guys who works the sawmill, in order to be successful everybody has to be responsible for the best practices being implemented.

One of the companies that believe in best forest practices in Ireland is Forest Ireland. They believe that the overall gains that will come about by practicing sustainable forest management not only affect those who work in the industry, they will also affects society in general. By planting more trees, Ireland has the capacity to plan to double the amount of Irish forestry that country now possesses, we should be providing jobs of the future and should ensure that we are providing a cleaner environment for our children to grow up in.

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