Forest products benefits for humanity are inexhaustible. A tree is cut down and grows again with a human lifespan. Oil, coal and iron are non-renewable because they will not be replaced with human memory. Recycling can only replace a very small proportion of raw materials such as iron or glass. Forest products can be recycled and renewed.The phrase, ‘quality of life’ has come into use fairly recently. In the past the vast majority of people were not able to contemplate things like electrical appliances, let alone motor cars TVs and cell phones. Only the tiny majority of aristocrats enjoyed any quality of life and that was predicated on the sweat and suffering of large numbers of other peopleThe final barrels of oil are being pumped from earth and massive mechanical diggers scrape coal and iron ore into ships continuously. It is obvious to all but the most obtuse that the rate of use cannot be sustained for much longer and that children as yet unborn will face a world where some raw materials now considered essential will be extinct.
The huge populations of China and India are now demanding the quality of life enjoyed by people in Germany and America. Their rightful aspirations will quite possibly be the breaking point for the supply of natural resources. At some point in the future the demand for iron and coal will exceed the cost of mining the final remains of such resources.Forest products are renewable, and their use does not pose the same problem that attends the use of non-renewable resources. Nevertheless there are two major concerns. In the first place people worry about the destruction of forests as big as those in Brazil, and in England children are asked to donate their pocket money towards saving the rain forests. In the second place there are concerns about the huge artificial forests planted in grasslands that destroy the water resources and natural habitats of life beneath them. Improved forest management systems that take account of long term effects can answer both sets of concerns.Products like timber have been used for shipbuilding, for building and for furniture since the times when countries like England were entirely covered by trees. Wood pulp has attained wide use in more recent times. Fairly young trees can be broken up and turned to pulp by mechanical or mechanical means. The pulp is used for paper and many other products such as building materials and even bio-fuel.Timber covers land that is itself a non-renewable resource that needs to be used wisely. An interesting new product for plantation owners is residential land. Where trees are best not planted human settlements may thrive, reducing the water demands of softwoods and providing income for owners as a result of maximum productivity of land.
Silviculture holds many of the secrets to the ways in which forest products benefits for humanity will be delivered in the future. Ways need to be found to harvest natural forests so that trees are replaced adequately after being felled. It is also necessary to protect undergrowth which encourage re growth of valuable trees and sustains animal life. In artificial forests way must be found to conserve water by protecting the streams and wetlands that feed larger rivers. There is much room for wise production from forest resources.