When a Lumber Company Clear-Cuts a Redwood Forest…
When a lumber company clear-cuts a redwood forest, the 1,000 year old trees are gone forever. It sells the lumber making several millions in private profit. What do you imagine the cost for us in natural capital? The clear-cut is just another example of privatizing profit while collectivizing the cost. The human cost in natural capital is overwhelming.
1. The wilderness is gone. No longer can people enter the forest and find reprieve and relief from the hectic hustle and bustle of life.
2. The natural habitat for the animals is now destroyed. Wild animals like lynx and deer are killed while roaming through residential areas. Unless we want them to become extinct, the forest would have to be replaced by a zoo.
3. The song birds could not return to the forest and they would no longer feel welcome. Their migration pattern becomes disrupted and many die searching for another nesting forest. Thus a bird sanctuary would have to be reserved, which tax payers would have to fund, because it would be the farthest thing from the mind of the lumber company.
4. The forest top soil that took centuries to develop becomes washed away.
5. The natural water cycle becomes disrupted. The rain water is washed falling through the leaves of the trees, going through the layers of earth and gravel and rock becoming purified on its way to the water table deep below. The natural water purification accomplished by the forest would have to be replaced by a water purification plant.
6. With the deterioration of the natural water cycle, the rain water stay on the surface. Soil erosion then causes flooding and mudslides; houses slide into rivers and highways are washed away.
7. The natural carbon dioxide/oxygen cycle becomes disrupted. Forests use up CO2 in photosynthesis and return oxygen into the atmosphere. Now the CO2 goes up into the atmosphere causing global warming and the oxygen supply becomes depleted. When all the forests are gone, we will have to buy oxygen tanks to breathe the way we have to purchase water.
What do you imagine is our collective cost in natural capital, when a lumber company clear-cuts a forest?