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Lumbering in the Temperate Forests
A major part of the world's timber and wood pulp comes from the temperate forests occupying vast areas of earth's surface. Trees in these forests have pure stands and lumbering is easier.
- (1) Stands of Timber: The presence of considerable stands of single species makes it easier to locate and extract the valuable type of timber.
- (2) Mechanical extraction : The great demand for timber has stimulated the modernization of forestry and a wide range of machinery is now used. Power saws, tractors, and other heavy plant for transporting logs are standard equipment in the temperate forests.
- (3) Living conditions : The intensification of forestry has led to a change from the pattern of seasonal employment and work now goes on all the year round. The replanting and reuse of forest areas and the confirmed move towards 'tree-farming' rather than exploitation has led to the development of settled communities of forest workers. In Scandinavia, the forests are owned as part of mixed farms and trees are treated as crop by the settled farmers of these countries.
- (4) Steady demand for Timber: The demand for softwood continually expanding, coniferous trees are the chief source of cellulose for the paper industry and those trees of lower quality, which cannot be used for paper can be pulped for use as fibre boards. Cellulose is also used in the synthetic textile industries. Moreover the major coniferous forests are located in or near areas which form the largest market for pulp and paper products.
- (5) Sound forest practices: Some European countries and USA keep a close control on forest exploitation. Strict government supervision means that conservation, replanting, the preservation of young trees, protection measures against diseases or pests and other aspects of forest management are of a high standard.
- (6) Transportation: The logs can be dragged easily over the seasonally frozen ground and can be floated downstream to pulp or saw industries. Wood based industrial plants also require supplies of water that they are necessarily Sited near rivers. Thus transportation problems are minimized as the logs can be floated directly to the mills.
- (7) Access to markets : Almost all the coniferous forests are near major industrial areas and advanced societies where timber, paper and pulp products are all in constant demand.
The three main reasons for the human pressures on die forests have been, and continue to be, the demands for fuel, wood, construction material and space for farm and pasture and in all these demands there are significant regional differences.
Gathering and Extraction Industries in the Temperate Forests: Temperate forests do not supply a great variety of materials like tropical forests. Tannin is extracted from barks of certain trees like oak, hemlock and from chestnut wood of the temperate forests. But the most important source of tannin in the world is quebracho of Chaco in south America where it grows in open forests over wide areas. Argentina and Paraguay have developed this main forest activity-quebracho logging and extraction of tannin from the chips of chopped up quebracho trees.
Cork: The industry is confined to the western Mediterranean region and about half of the world's cork comes from Portugal and one-fourth comes from North Africa. Other areas producing cork are Spain, France and Italy. The cork is obtained from the barks of Oak trees for which no cultivation is necessary. But the tree must be about 18 years old for first stripping. After that, the bark is stripped at an interval of 8-10 years. The demand for cork is continuously on the increase as bottle stoppers, for insulating refrigerators, as linings for hats find shoes as washers, bicycle handles, etc.
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