How the renewal of forest resources happens
20 January 2021
Our planet is rich in natural resources: land, water, minerals, flora and fauna, the list can be endless. One of the main resources of the Earth is forest.
Forest in the life of the Earth
Forests are the lungs that give oxygen to all living creatures. It is also no secret that wood is one of the best and most popular building materials. But in order to get this material, it is necessary to produce wood.
Such natural phenomena as hurricanes, floods or forest fires affect the forest areas. As a result our forests are gradually thinning. And the lungs of the planet become smaller. This is not the brightest outlook, right?
But it is not so bad as it seems at first glance. After all wood is a renewable kind of resource, even though it happens slowly. It takes five minutes to saw down a century-old pine tree, and a skillful lumberjack can do it in a couple of minutes. But a pine-tree grows for a whole century, just think about it: 100 years. So it goes with the arithmetic.
How the forest renewal happens
There is such a term in forestry: natural afforestation. Everything seems to be provided for by the nature itself, a tree seeds, seeds fall on the ground, and young shoots start growing. Yes, it’s all true, but for human activity with our needs of wood. The more logging is carried out, the less timber stand capable of natural regeneration remains. In the places where it is impossible to restore the timber stand in a natural way, it is necessary to carry out artificial regeneration, or simply saying, in spring young plants are planted at felling sites.
First stage - seedlings
Young plants are grown in forest nurseries. Forest nursery is the first and main link in the chain of forest renewal resources. The technology for producing planting material is quite costly and time consuming.
Let’s consider the technology of seedling production by the example of Scots Pine. Gathering cones starts in autumn on felling sites from the trees that are sheared, as well as still growing. When the cones are harvested, they are dried in special devices called dryers. After drying, the scales on the cones open and it is easy to remove the seeds. After being separated from the cone the seeds are packed for storage until they are planted into the soil. After storing the seeds are treated with various specimens to enhance their germinating ability and to protect them from diseases. Dropping takes place in spring in the first half of May. The first shoots appear 3 weeks after dropping. At the early stages of their life the young trees are very demanding about the microclimate, that is why dropping usually takes place in greenhouses. Regular watering and weed control are the main conditions that anticipate the rapid growth of the seedlings. Seedling is a planting material that was grown from a seed in a year.
Second stage - nursery plants
On their second year seedlings are transplanted from the greenhouse to the open soil and become nursery plants. Transplantation helps to get young trees ready for planting in a permanent place. Transplanting out of greenhouse conditions is also called hardiness. In autumn on the second year of their life it is good to arrange drying stress for the young plants. The watering of plantations is reduced for some time, but not completely stopped. After such a procedure nursery plants become more resistant to higher temperatures and the absence of moisture in the soil.
Third stage - forest planting
Nursery plants are transplanted to their permanent place at the age of two. Planting usually takes place in the spring after the snow melts down. During the transplantation it is important not to damage the root system of the young trees. But this is not the end of the process of afforestation. Constant monitoring of the state of the newly planted forest is badly needed. The measures to create favorable conditions for the growth of young trees are taken regularly. From time to time first weeding is carried out as well as cutting-back if needed.
Monitoring systems, such as Forest Fire Detection help to reduce the destruction of forests from fires and thus to reduce the cost of afforestation.
Forest nurseries and artificial afforestation in their turn contribute significantly to the increase in the area of young forest, giving the chance to other generations of people to live and breathe fresh, oxygen-rich air.