Our Forests, Where Can We Use Them Most
Trees have been with us since the beginning of time. We have been using its products for just as long. They have been used to fashion weapons, used as wheels, used for us to write with and to have something to write on. Most importantly they have been and continue to be used to provide shelter for us. I feel trees are an important resource for us and to stop using this important resource would be an injustice to society. Trees are there to be admired and to help our ecosystem survive but they are also there to provide for the things we need in life.
An important example of how trees are helping people in extraordinary ways in by the use of tree products as cancer drugs. According to Sally Christensen, “taxol is created by using three one hundred year old pacific yew trees or roughly sixty pounds of bark.” Taxol is very helpful in fighting ovarian cancer when conventional methods no longer work. This drug has been responsible for saving many lives (Christensen 552). Christensen herself was saved with this drug. Sallie Tillsdale calls Christensen very selfish for killing trees to help save herself. She says it is people versus trees. I feel it is life versus life. If a few trees have to be cut down so a person can go on living then this is a choice that I as a person am willing to make. No one is going to tell me that I cannot have a chance at life because a group of environmentalists say that is wrong. It is quoted by Walter T. Stace, “If a man’s actions were wholly determined by chains of causes stretching back into the remote past, so that they could be predicted beforehand by a mind which knew all the causes, it was assumed that they could not in that case be free.”
One of the main needs of lumber is for building homes. This need skyrocketed after the 1950s. The need for new housing was tremendous and the need for lumber just kept growing. The need for lumber dramatically increased when people wanted shaker style roofs, wood flooring and wood siding (Robinson 25). Today things have changed slightly. Now we use vinyl siding for our homes. So that has helped a little. But we still need to frame a house so that it will stand up and at this point I do not know of anything else that will get the job done. Some people don’t care about the forests at all; my sister is a great example. She has a 3000 square feet house that probably took a great amount of trees to build. She has hard wood floors throughout her house and wood cabinetry everywhere. I am sure when there is a meeting of Tree Savers USA my sister will not be there.
Traditional conservation has been focused on setting aside land in remote parts of the country as conservation projects. My question is what happens to the rest of the country? Land is set aside for bird, wildlife and land conservation, but we allow the rest of the country to be a dump. Canada for example, only sets aside 1.3% or 50,060 square miles for conservation efforts (Jacobs 77). Our numbers in this country are probably not far off from that. What we need to do is set aside more land to be used for conservation. Then maybe all of the tree preservation people will get off our backs about using up the trees. If they know that a certain amount of forests will be set aside filled up with trees that will never be used commercially then maybe we can go on building and healing in peace.
What we need to do with land conservation projects is keep them away from the big cities. We need to create buffer zones, a buffer zone is a area of land between the city and the conservation area that creates a semi-natural area that will help to protect the conserved area from undue stress (Soule 813). When this method is used it may make for a more healthy, conserved area. Why would anyone who is driving around want to encounter a city and then almost immediately after leaving the city encounter a preserved area? There needs to be an area of transition that would be healthy for the area and also pleasing to the eye for travelers.
One holiday that I feel celebrates forestry is Arbor Day. Arbor Day is about planting trees to help put back the trees that we used for other purposes during the year. When I was a child attending school every Arbor Day I received a seedling to plant in my yard. Sometimes the seedling died but other times it survived and flourished. Some kids probably threw their seedling out when they got home I on the other hand, always planted mine. Anyone can join to celebrate Arbor Day. You can mail $15 to the Arbor Day Foundation and they will send you back ten confer seedlings to plant in your area (Willis 31).
So as you can see forestry is nothing to joke about and many people take it very seriously. I feel that trees are very important to our lives but sometimes you can go a little too far and not realize that we need trees to survive also. What would we write on if we did not have trees? I can’t see using a chalkboard all of the time to communicate. Or this paper you are reading from? Actually, I might be glad if I did not have to write this because paper was banned. Go into Staples sometime and look at all of the reams of paper they have stacked up and think of all of the trees that were sacrificed so you could read all of your students papers. Don’t you feel bad now? But there are also other things to consider. Right now it is raining outside. Without the use of wood to build my house I would be very wet. So I have come to the realization that we need wood whether we like it or not, so people protesting its use are never going to get very far, so please just stop and let me use my paper.
Christensen, Sally Thane. “Is a Tree Worth a Life” Current Issues and Enduring
Questions. Ed. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau. New York: St. Martin’s
Jacobs, Peter. “Environmental Planning and Rational Use” Sustaining
Tomorrow. Ed. Francis R. Thibodeau and Hermann H. Field. London:
University Press of New England, 1984. 77-85.
Robinson, Gordon. The Forest and the Trees. Washington DC: Island Press,
Soule, Michael E. and John Terborgh. “Conserving Nature at Regional and
Continental Scales-a Scientific Program For North America” BioScience.
Stale, Walter T. “Is Determinism Inconsistent With Free Will?” Current Issues
And Enduring Questions. Ed. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau. New York:
Tisdale, Sallie. “Save a Life, Kill a Tree?” Current Issues and Enduring
Questions. Ed. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau. New York: St. Martin’s,
Willis, Monica Michael. “Your Forest Today” Country Living. March 1997: 30-