‘Vast tracts of Cambodia’s tropical forests are disappearing to feed the world’s voracious appetite for natural rubber’
Latex is collected much like maple syrple, No fallen trees.
The fallen trees are the native forests cleared to plant rubber trees. Same thing happened when biodiesel was required-rainforests cleared to plant palm plantations.
Clear cutting removes all the plants and animals in the area. Some species will return, but anything considered a hazard to people will be controlled, if possible.
The authors say that Cambodia’s forests will continue to shrink unless its government ends policies that encourage the development of large, commercial rubber plantations.
From the article;
Almost one-quarter of the cleared land was used for plantations of a non-native species of rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis .
Trees removed, trees planted, what is the problem? You don’t like those new trees?
What is the consequence of this transformation? The article didn’t answer that question.
i think a diverse forest and a rubber plantation have different abilities to scrub the air. the old trees are probably burnt and than the cleared land is planted and the first couple years might be pretty thin greenery. and than the rubber trees may or may not grow well. i thought henry ford had that issue down in aveiro/para back in the 20’s? i think his “fordlandia” eutopia had lots of issues.
Also lost is much of the wildlife. Replacing virgin forest with a tree farm.
In my little corner of the world Kudzu, privet hedge, wysteria and loblolly pine overwhelm landscapes where hardwood trees and heart pine once grew. And of course every 15 to 20 years the loblolly pines are clear cut leaving hill sides to wash away. Such is the situation that often occurs when someone finds a great idea involving improving things by trashing what was and replacing it with something better. And speaking of rubber for tires, I saw a documentary about Fordlandia recently and it was amazing how big a failure Henry Ford had in an effort to grow his own rubber trees and make rubber in Brazil 100 years ago.
Does anyone recall John Pryne’s “Paradise?” Sometimes success costs a lot more than planned and those who enjoy the $uccess aren’t around to clean up the mess.
I found it amusing when Peabody Coal filed for bankruptcy a few years ago - the court hauled it away.
People have been pointing out the rise of ‘weed’ species, plants and animals that move most quickly into disturbed habitats.
Great song. I’ve been waiting for a John Prine (pryne?) reference.
The first 3 plant species you mentioned are all non native, invasive species. Brought over for erosion control, or lawn ornaments. Somebody thought it was a good idea at some point I guess.
As for clearcutting and planting to pine, I’m not sure what other viable options there are. Clearcut and don’t plant at all, you wind up with a scrubby mess of light seeded hardwoods, invasives, and stump sprouts. 80 years into the future, maybe you get a decent stand of hardwoods. Clear cut and plant hardwoods (oak) you get the scrubby mess I mentioned earlier with an oak component mixed in. Clear cut and plant a mixture of pine and hardwood, the pines outgrow the hardwoods so fast you’ve pretty much wasted your effort planting the hardwoods as they get dwarfed by the bigger pines.
No one really wants to select cut anymore. And I’m not sure how well it would work anyway. My grandparents had a mixed forest when I grew up. Pine beetles got in the pines, so those were cut. Eventually, the hardwoods aged to a point of decline. And those were cut. The result was a clearcut, eventually.
Truly managing a forest by doing select cutting would be quite difficult nowadays. Who wants to man a chain saw when a feller buncher does it safer and faster? Then there are the economics. If you select cut the trash trees, no one would buy them anyway. Slower cutting equals less production, and the loggers have to make a living.
I suppose you could plant to pine, do one thinning (select cut), then allow shade tolerant native species to grow beneath the pines. The main thing you need is a long cutting rotation. But waiting 20 years to get any income is difficult when you’re paying land taxes. Waiting 80 years to generate any income, I suppose you’d be better off economically selling the land.
I’m not sure what the solution would be. But it’s an interesting topic. I was a forestry major, years ago.
As for the rubber plantations, I can’t comment much. Fortunately, with the long growing season in that area, it won’t be long before there’s another harvest. Luckily, once the demand for tires (or pine lumber to build houses) decreases enough, nature will take it’s course. Then the forests will eventually revert back to what they were before we did any cutting or planting.
I’m all for being a good steward to the environment and being environmentally conscious. But, I’m also a firm believer that the world will keep turning and keep going on, business as usual, long after we’ve done our worst and run our course. Set off the “end of the world” bomb and kill all of humanity - I think the forest and the cockroaches will keep on rockin.
I predict in a couple years we will be predicting we all will die if we don’t stop the magnetic field from wobbling. Always something to worry about until all humans are eradicated.
And I think it’s a little presumptuous for us humans to think we can alter much of anything long term. That’s just my opinion after seeing total environmental neglect and nature’s quick recovery.
Somewhere between Easter Island and Soylent Green there does seem to be the possibility that we will just keep pushing on making progress to an unintended conclusion. We have a habit of doing that and at a faster rate and more formidable scale.
At least you’re good for a laugh . . . whether you intended it that way or not
Prine. Mr @Rod_Knox likes ys: wisteria doesn’t have one either. He’s a ys guy.
What nature’s been doing for the last 65 million years.
They’ve figured out a way to make tall buildings with pine.
Cockroaches are tropical species. They don’t live anywhere that has a winter unless people create a suitable habitat in their sewers and homes. After the destruction of NYC, after the oceans flood the sewers, it’s curtains for cockroaches. Trees will like it.
That isn’t the issue: it’s how Cambodians will suffer after they’ve destroyed their forests to get rubber for a few decades. Great-grandfather homesteaded a plot of land in Texas, cleared the scrub oak and cedar, planted corn and cotton until the topsoil was gone: it’s still a wasteland. He became a lawyer. I still own the land.
Read The World without us. The earth will recover just fine. We’re good fertilizer. The issue is being comfortable, going outside, eating beef, living above ground, enough space for 10 billion. Kill 6 billion of us now, that leaves 1 billion, problems solved.
70K years ago a bunch of huge volcanoes exploded, killing all but 5-10K of us, from whom we all descend. I’ve seen maps that show spots that’ll be better off after global warming (not Albuquerque). I guess that, at worst, 100 million will survive, which is a lot. We can hope they’ll have learned their lesson.
I know it’s hard but back to cars at least for the foreseeable future anyway. The world needs rubber, the Cambodians need jobs and industry. We should tell them they shouldn’t do that? how arrogant. Oh the silly things to worry about. Minnesota has been growing corn though for a long time and the top soil is doing just fine. Cleared the hardwood forest too to do it. Oh oh, we found the source of all our troubles. Forget the corn and plant trees, providing there’s enough co2 left to sustain them.
Nature generally recovers pretty quick. Clear the rubber tree farms and see how long it takes for the rainforest species to return.
Interestng thread. I hadn’t thought much where the rubber for tires comes from, just assumed it was synthetic rubber from petroleum. But a little googling shows there’s still a lot of natural rubber (latex obtained from rubber trees, etc) used for auto tires too. I wouldn’t have guessed that in this modern day and age our car tires are still made from plant latex. I could see using natural latex 1919, but in 2019? Didn’t Henry Ford own a big rubber plantation in Brazil in the early car days? I wonder whatever happened to that?
I imagine ancient civilizations thought they were doing something that would have a long term impact on the world. Now we have to clear the jungle and dig into the dirt just to find a trace of them.
Sort of back to cars. You can see nature taking over again in some of the abandoned Detroit manufacturing plants. Trees growing in cracks in the concrete and on the tops of the buildings. I watched a pretty interesting documentary on that on the weather channel, I think. Concrete eventually turns back to dirt and rock, steel rusts into iron and back into the ground.
No doubt, we should do our best to be environmentally responsible. But I think nature is more resilient than we give it credit for some times.