Selective cutting is a method of logging, or cutting trees for sale as timber or pulp. The timbers are used for commercial purposes, to build homes, make furniture, etc., and the pulp is used to make paper. There are two kinds of logging – clear cutting and selective cutting. Clear cutting is the method of logging in which all the trees in a certain area are cut down, irrespective of their species, type or size.
What is Selective Cutting?
Selective cutting is the method of cutting in which only a certain selected species or type of trees are cut down. The choice of the type of tree to be cut down could depend on various factors, like intended use. Most times, trees that are highly valued – like mahagony – are more likely to be cut down.
Losing the Fittest
Most people tend to believe that selective logging is better for the environment than clear cutting. However, this is not necessarily true. In selective logging, the best and strongest trees are felled, and the weaker ones left behind. This means that a forest in which selective logging occurs will lose its best trees, and only the weaker ones will remain; these then dominate the wooded region, which is not beneficial to the environment.
Trees also need a lot of light for photosynthesis and growth. Therefore, selective logging, where only one or two trees are cut down over a small area, is not very conducive for regrowth. Regrowth occurs better when there are large tracts of land that receive a good amount of sunlight.
Harmful to Trees
Selective logging is harmful not only to the trees that are cut down, but to the ones near them. It is estimated that for each tree that is logged, 30 others are harmed on average. One reason is that when a tree is cut down, the machinery that is used to log it can seriously damage the nearby trees. Also, when a tree is cut down, it brings downs the vines that form a network with the nearby trees, causing them to lose stability.