Essay topics: Every year, forest fires and severe storms cause a great deal of damage to forests in the northwestern United States. One way of dealing with the aftermath of these disasters is called salvage logging, which is the practice of removing dead trees from affected areas and using the wood for lumber, plywood, and other wood products. There are several reasons why salvage logging is beneficial both to a damaged forest and to the economy.
First, after a devastating fire, forests are choked with dead trees. If the trees are not removed, they will take years to decompose; in the meantime, no new trees can grow in the cramped spaces. Salvage logging, however, removes the remains of dead trees and makes room for fresh growth immediately, which is likely to help forest areas recover from the disaster.
Also, dead trees do more than just take up space. Decaying wood is a highly suitable habitat for insects such as the spruce bark beetle, which in large numbers can damage live, healthy spruce trees. So by removing rotting wood, salvage logging helps minimize the dangers of insect infestation, thus contributing to the health of the forest.
Third and last, salvage logging has economic benefits. Many industries depend upon the forests for their production, and because of this a fire can have a very harmful effect on the economy. Often, however, the trees that have been damaged by natural disasters still can provide much wood that is usable by industries. Furthermore, salvage logging requires more workers than traditional logging operations do, and so it helps create additional jobs for local residents.
The reading passage holds that salvage logging is beneficial for forests and the local economy and cites three supporting arguments. However, the speaker in the lecture casts doubt on the claims made in the article. She mentions that removal of dead trees could pose serious problems for the environment. In addition, its effect on the economy is questionable.
To start, the author posits that dead trees takes so many years to decompose and by eliminating them, more room would be available for new plants to grow. Nevertheless, the lecturer indicates that the old trees' decomposition enriches the soil with nutrients. Thus, the immediate cutting down of dead trees could lead to poor soil, which would not be able to support new growth.
Secondly, the writer contends that dead trees could be a habitat for harmful insects, such as Bruce bark beetle. Therefore, getting rid of rotting wood not only would clear up space but also would keep up the forest health against pests. Conversely, the professor in the lecture illustrates that Bruce bark beetles have lived in Alaskan forests for hundreds of years without any major damage. What's more, dead trees are also habitat for other useful species of birds and insects as well. By and large, according to the lecture, salvage logging has more disadvantages than advantages.
Lastly, the excerpt maintain that salvage logging would be helpful for the economy since it requires more workers than traditional logging. Moreover, the recovered wood would still be usable for some industries. In contrast, the lecturer challenges this point of view. She asserts that helicopters must be used to locate the dead trees in the forest. Consequently, the process would have a high cost to utilize these helicopters. One more point discussed in the lecture is that most jobs provided by salvage logging would be temporary and would go to outsiders who have training and experience not to the local community.
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