Troy High School Deforestation Project

Asked December 18, 2018, 12:44 PM EST

Hello MSU, My name is Morgan, and i am a student from Troy High School in Troy MI. I am working on a project about how deforestation affects species in China, and the rest of the world. I wanted to ask a few questions about how deforestation can affect different parts of the world, as well as air quality and nature. Also i wanted to know how we could possibly improve. It doesn't have to be about china, but deforestation in general. Question one How much has deforestation messed with ecosystems around the world, what are some ideas we could do in order to try and reverse it? Question two How badly does it affect nature if large amount of trees/ vegetation is cleared out all at once, what consequences does it have? Question three What general products do people around the world create from trees? Question four Are there any substitutes we can use, or a way to recycle wood? Thank you for taking time to read my question/email for my project. I look forward to hearing from you! My email is below if you wish to contact me. morgankneale0199@gmail.com Thanks, Morgan Troy High Student Troy Michigan

Oakland County Michigan forestry trees and shrubs air quality management trees deforestation

1 Response

Hi Morgan,
Those are interesting questions! Thank you for asking.
First, I think we should define deforestation as clearing trees from land so that it can be used for something other than growing trees. In some countries, they clear large areas of the forest so they can grow crops for food. Here in the United States we cleared a lot of trees where our farm fields now stand, so, we've done that here, too. It's just been so long that we can't remember seeing trees here. In any forest ecosystem, if you clear trees they want to grow back! So, keeping land clear takes some work. Just after clearing trees, before other vegetation grows, the soil can wash away through the process of erosion. Vegetation, even grass, will stabilize the soil, or keep it from washing away. That is why some of our farmers grow winter crops or practice no till farming. To keep the soil where it is! Forests tend to slow down the flow of water, so if an area is deforested to build something, then we need to make sure we plant as much vegetation as possible to slow down the flow of water and allow it to infiltrate back into the soil. That's why we have large grassy retention or detention ponds, or areas where water can collect near a large parking lot.
Forest ecosystems also return nutrients to the soil in the form of leaves falling to the ground. When a forest has been cleared from a piece of land, we have to add nutrients back into the soil to grow crops. If we clear the forest for a building, then there is no need to add nutrients.
There are many different ways to harvest trees without deforesting the landscape. Remember, deforesting means the land will be used for something other than growing trees. If we harvest trees with the intention of the trees growing back up again, then it's called forest management. It means the area will still be used to grow a forest. The way in which we cut down trees to make products will determine what types of trees grow back in that area. For example, if we want to grow oaks as the next forest in an area, then we'll have to cut down nearly all the trees in the area because oaks like to grow in full sun, and wouldn't grow as well if there are trees left in the area. We call this a 'clearcut', and doing a clearcut with the intention of growing trees back on the site can be good forest management. Here in Michigan, the DNR practices 'sustainable' forestry. Sustainable means that we can continue to grow and cut trees down over and over again because we have a plan to take care of the land from which the trees are cut. Deforestation is not sustainable because the trees are removed with the intention of not growing trees anymore. You can read more about the sustainable harvest of Michigan's forests at these links.
https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-84430_84441_84444-458589--,00.html
https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79136_79237_80915---,00.html
I hope this information has been helpful. Forestry is an art and a science that works to protect all ecosystems. Feel free to contact me again if you'd like to learn more about forestry or forest management. It's a lot of fun!
Thank you,
Julie