A healthy forest is a forest that provides multiple benefits for the environment and our society. But what is a healthy forest? When the trees can grow in the best conditions, making them resilient to pests and diseases and more resistant in case of fire. To do so, they need water, space, and sunlight. A managed forest is a healthy forest.
So how do we ensure that these conditions are met? Through sensible forest management. There is not one management approach but many. They are each adapted to the tree species, their environment, climate, topology, and many other parameters. Healthy trees make a healthy environment, favoring biodiversity and a safe habitat for animals living in the forest.
And what is the Human role in all this? We have always managed the forests. We have understood the process of tree growth and how to regenerate the forest. Foresters create a perpetual cycle of cutting, plantation, selection, and renewal with proper management and good practices. Each phase is of a different length, depending on the tree species. During its healthy growth, a tree captures carbon and retains it in its fibers. It cleans the air, protects the land, and even ensures the supply of clean water. Healthy forests make environmentally friendly wood products we can use in our daily lives. Indeed, wood is a renewable resource and a sustainable material. On the other hand, research is active and innovative in the use of forest products.
Unfortunately, in the last few years, we have witnessed more frequent and intense catastrophic events. It is easy to say that climate change alone is the culprit. It does not help by bringing hot temperatures and lack of rain, but the causes of these catastrophic events are diverse. A fire outbreak becomes uncontrollable when forests are vulnerable. With overcrowded forests of unhealthy trees, weakened by pests, and diseases. It is no longer a forest but standing fuel. It only takes one spark for everything to go up in smoke. The forest can not face alone the challenges of climate change without the intervention of foresters to ensure its resilience.
Instead of blaming unhealthy forests on bad luck, we should blame it on bad choices. We know how to manage our forests, and doing nothing causes much damage. It is then necessary to resort to sensible forest management to provide resilience to the forest and its ecosystems. The well-being of our communities is also at stake.