Nowhere is the twisted face of Gaia's pain more evident than in the wreckage of the Earth's ancient forests that have been "sustainably" logged. As for those doing and apologizing for the logging, I would very much like to take a hot poker and stick it up theirâ€?wait, don't go there, at least not in this Meanders.
Suffice it to say in a place that would really hurt and that rarely sees the sun. I am furious, enraged that the Earth has not outlawed industrial ancient forest loss and diminishment. These remaining large, contiguous rainforests are a requirement for global ecological sustainability. I am full of rage that governmentâ€™s still find once off liquidation of life giving forest ecosystems as an acceptable economic activity. I and others are enraged that the logging industry engages in ecocide to feed their families dooming their children to death. And most damned for their sins are the well-heeled environmental bureaucrats who outrageously make a living lying about the ecological sustainability and social desirability of logging primeval ancient forests.
If anything is sacred, it is the world's last Primeval Ancient Forests, with their incredibly complex interactions of genes, species, plant communities, animal populations; constrained and formed by their physical environments. Since the rise of flowering plants, a crescendo of evolution has lead to diversity and beauty beyond belief. Incidentally, these plant assemblages regulate hydrological and atmospheric processes making human and all life possible. This meander will limit itself to terrestrial diversity, but it is much the same for oceans.
Primeval forests are the Garden of Eden â€?a kaleidoscope of evolutionary brilliance and seemingly chaotic mayhem out of which has spun all life including humans. Ancient forests are the foundation and engine of life. Climate change and water scarcity are not the only things that will kill us if left unchecked, loss of the worldâ€™s remaining ancient forests will as well, as the planetary ecosystem irreversibly collapses.
An old-growth, primeval primary forest is a perfect tapestry of heavenly beauty. There is no such thing as forests completely unmarred by humanâ€™s presence, as deposition of atmospheric pollutants such as nitrogen and sulfur dioxide have already altered the worldâ€™s last large contiguous forests. And it is true that indigenous people have manipulated vegetation succession for millennia, and can and should continue their small-scale traditional activities in their traditional wildlands. But much that is natural, ancient, good, truthful and holy remains in the worldâ€™s last large forest wildernesses.
A sixty million year old rainforest is priceless; it is the face of God. Foremost it cycles energy and filters wastes in a manner that maintains Gaia â€?the global ecological planetary system.
Every gene to species to community assemblage has a role to play in maintaining ecosystems, microclimates, and the global atmosphere. Ancient forests provide the constraints and boundaries necessary for human and all other life.
There are many ways to classify and study the continuous bounty of say a 60 million year old rainforest ecosystem. We can identify species, though with some difficulty due to hybridization. Astonishingly species are far from uniform, as within species lay an astonishing array of genetic diversity â€?unique gene types called alleles that may exist in only one isolated population of the broader species. You can remove much biomass by selectively logging an ancient forest and still maintain many species and depauperate vegetation communities, but countless genetic variety is often lost forever. What remains will not be an ancient forest for millennia.
When loggers liquidate a patch of primeval forests â€?as has happened for centuries â€?the very building blocks of Earthly creation is destroyed for such necessities as plywood and cardboard boxes. Meanwhile we continue to hear from industry flacks that forests are doing fine, as the increase in plantations and secondary growth is confused as being of equal value as the lost ancient intact forest ecosystems.
The reality is that essentially all of the Earth terrestrial ecosystems and their original vegetation associations have been lost or are threatened. Over 80% has been turned into much reduced agro-ecosystems, production forests, cities, pastures and industrial wastelands. Already almost certainly we have surpassed the amount of intact natural terrestrial ecosystems that can be lost while still maintaining biodiversity, climate, water and soil systems. Humanity needs large, widespread and connected ancient forests and restored old-growth for society to live and prosper. Ancient forests are an important component of the ecosystem engine that powers Gaia and makes all life possible through its cycling of energy and nutrients.
So what is to be done with the last large contiguous terrestrial ecosystem engines? For one hundred years the discipline of forestry has focused upon sustained yields at the expense of other forest values including ecosystem and community wholeness. Best management practices have now been usurped with the promise of "certified forest management". While attempting to minimize the obvious abuses of centuries of rapacious forest liquidation, certification fails miserably because it is based on the lie that primary and old-growth forests can be logged in an acceptably ecologically sustainable manner.
Ancient forests selectively logged for the first time are irrevocably and forever diminished. Selectively logged ancient forests lose unknown genes; have different species composition, associations, structure and function; and are less able to hold carbon. After several such selective harvests ancient forests become tree plantations. There is a role for certified forestry in regenerating diverse planted forests and secondary regrowth, and for traditional indigenous uses to continue in ancient forests. But all other activities including logging, mining, dams, utility lines, roads and plantations doom ancient primary and old-growth forests to spiraling ecological decline.
For decades the big forest conservation groups including Greenfarce, Forest Stalking Council (FSC), Willing to Wack Forests (WWF), and the Rainforest Inaction Network have assured us we can log our ancient forests sustainably while maintaining the essence of their being as sacred ecological treasures. Given the immense difficulty of shutting down the ancient forest logging industry â€?the issues of equity given past logging in rich countries, reasonable development aspirations of local peoples, and the sheer inertia of the idea that the worldâ€™s life giving ecosystems are resources the should be harvested; they have rolled over.
Rather than being concerned with ecological truth that ancient forests are required for Gaiaâ€™s and humanityâ€™s survival, the logging apologists are desirous of being perceived as "reasonable" environmentalists. Due to lack of ecological training in some, and an addiction to drinking from the trough of environmental foundations by others, they spread the BIG LIE â€?certification of old growth forest logging is a public, social and ecological good. They could give a shit about what is necessary and sufficient to maintain large, contiguous forests and thus the Earthâ€™s ecosystems.
The Amazon, Canadian Boreal, Russian Taiga, African rainforest and the other last large contiguous holy life giving forest temples can never be allowed to be deforested or diminished through industrial selective logging or other activities.
Efforts by somewhat well intentioned but misinformed reformers to change the logging rules a bit so that less damage is caused by ripping apart glorious holy places is misguided and enables the forces of ancient forest logging ecocide.
Planetary survival depends intimately upon NO MORE ANCIENT FOREST LOSS OR DIMINISHMENT. Viable options exist including carbon payments for avoided deforestation, ecotourism, and small-scale community eco-forestry by local peoples. Career environmental bureaucrats pushing certified industrial logging of old-growth forests are even worse than the lying, cheating and killing timber mafia that make no apologies for making an easy buck by dismantling creation. Both deserve to be rounded up, charged with ecocide, and imprisoned in gulags.
My organization Ecological Internetâ€™s network and allies will shortly be throwing down the gauntlet. Initially we will be asking every major forest conservation organization in the world to state clearly whether they are for ancient forest logging or not. They simply must choose sides â€?are they for industrial logging of primeval ecosystems, and if so under what circumstances?
We will then work tirelessly to disrupt the activities of those apologizing for and promoting ancient forest logging. Things will escalate in stages. But if the Earth has a chance of achieving global ecological sustainability, society will eventually by law decide that ancient forests WILL be left untouched and allowed to expand at any cost. The Earthâ€™s ecological operation and humanityâ€™s survival are dependent upon ending ancient forest logging and other industrial development.