Deforestation and Reforestation

Experts Advance New Way to Size Up Global Forest Resources

According to research out of the University of Helsinki, “An increasing number of countries and regions are transitioning from deforestation to afforestation, raising hopes for a turning point for the world as a whole, according to researchers advancing a more sophisticated approach to measuring forest cover.”

The “Forest Identity” approach considers more than simply how much of a nation’s area is covered by trees; it also includes the volume of timber, biomass, and captured carbon within the area. The result produces an encouraging picture of Earth’s forest situation and should change the way we assess forests.

“Forest Identity” considers both area and the density of trees per hectare to determine the country’s “growing stock”: trees large enough to be considered timber. The formula also quantifies the biomass and atmospheric carbon stored in world forests and will help track those forest characteristics over time.

Using the Forest Identity method, this map shows the top fifty forested countries.

  • Green indicates that the forests are increasing (United States, Russia, China, Vietnam, et. al.).
  • Brown indicates that the forests have seen no increase or decrease (Canada, South Africa).
  • Tan indicates that the forest data was not available (e.g. Australia).
  • Red indicates that the forests are losing growing stock (Brazil, Indonesia, et. al.).
Chart of Forest Changes, 1990 to 2005Click on to enlarge

The illustration to the right shows most of the mapped countries graphically. Countries to the “northeast” of the diagonal line are increasing their forest stock. Countries “southwest” (below) the diagonal line are decreasing their forests’ stocks.

Forest Identity’s approach was created by six experts from diverse academic disciplines (forestry, environmental technology, ecology, geography, resource economics, and agronomy) in China, Finland, Scotland, and the USA . The creators, following independent lines of thinking, came to agree that forest transition on a major scale is underway. The paper was peer-reviewed by the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For further reading:

NY Times, New Jungles Prompt a Debate on Rain Forests

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Tree Seedlings Available for Planting on California’s Post-Fire Forest Restoration

California experienced a severe fire season last year. Many thousands of forested acres have burned both on private and public lands.

CAL FIRE assistance programs can help California forest landowners whose forests were affected by fires. One of these programs is the Tree Seedling Nursery Program. This program sells tree seedlings for reforesting forest ownerships. Tree seedlings are available to the public for reforestation, erosion control, watershed protection, windbreaks, Christmas tree and fuelwood plantations, and approved research projects. All seedlings grown are from seed well adapted to the various climate zones, growing conditions and elevations found within the state.

At present, CAL FIRE Magalia Reforestation Center still has good inventories of appropriate seedlings available. Yet, demand may overwhelm the supplies. Therefore, landowners need to first check with the Magalia Reforestation Center’s staff to determine what is available and before submitting their orders.

The CAL FIRE Nursery Program also has a staff of foresters who can provide free reforestation advice to landowners. In addition to these foresters, CAL FIRE has forestry assistant specialists at most local Unit Offices who can also provide free reforestation advice or direct individuals to the type of professional consultant they may need to assist them. These specialists also can provide information on limited State or Federal cost-share funding that may be available.

Keep in mind, seedling prices vary by age (one or two year old), how they were grown (bareroot or in containers) and by the quantity purchased. Seedlings grown cover the majority of California’s timberland conifer species, with a few hardwoods and some non-natives grown for specific landowner objectives.

For more information, please contact the Magalia Reforestation Center at 6640 Steiffer Road, Magalia, 95954, Phone: (530) 872-6301 (email: cdfnursery@fire.ca.gov).

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