Selection cutting: Panacea or damage in disguise?

By Betsy Herbert
Santa Cruz Sentinel
October 26, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

It’s not difficult to convey the environmental impacts of clear-cut logging; just look at the big, ugly bald patches of scarred earth after a clear-cut and you get it. But too often, an alternative to clear-cutting — known as selection logging — is offered as a panacea. Wow, it looks so much better than a clear-cut, especially when you’re looking at photos taken by timber companies doing the logging. …One of the biggest problems of selection logging is the ground disturbance from the haul roads and skid trails cut into the forest to take the trees out. …What follows is an expanded road network to cover the larger area. …A Woods Hole Research Center paper published in Science last month explains how new tools have made it possible to measure the damage in degraded forests, beyond the more dramatic and visible sites of clear-cutting and deforestation.

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