GEO2/5: THE MAJOR ENVIRONMENT ZONES OF THE WORLD

This unit focuses on the different environmental settings and areas in different geographical areas

zones

FORESTRY AND LUMBERING

Forestry is the preservation and conservation of trees, lumbering is the exploitation of the forests and man’s utility.

There are two major types of forests that is to say; equatorial and temperate forest.

In the temperate forests there are two major types that are to say; coniferous and Broadleaved forests.

 

TROPICAL FORESTS

They are especially developed between 0.60 North and South of the equator. They are extensively found in three main regions

  1. Africa in the Congo basin

– West African Coast

– East Coast of Madagascar

– Coastal steep of east Africa

 

  1. South America in the Amazon basin

-Gulf of Mexico

-Eastern coast of Columbia

 

  1. Indo pacific region including

– Indonesia

– Philippines

Malaysia

– Western coast of India

-Coats of Sri Lanka

These forests were intensively developed but have been drastically reduced by human encroachment. That is to say; Msizi, Muvule, Ebony, Mahogany and Rose wood.

IMPORTANCE OF FORESTS


-Source of fuel that is to say; charcoal, fire wood

-Source of herbs for medicine Chincona tree for Quninine

-Source of foods and fruits

-They are used in construction and building and furniture making

-They modify climate by increasing rainfall through evapo-transpiration

-Forests are tourists attractions which earn foreign exchange

-They are habitats for wild animals

-The forests help conserve the soil by preventing erosion and the leaves that drop keep the soils fertile.

-They offer employment and therefore a steady income to lumberers, wood cutters, wood craft specialists, furniture makers and others.

-They act as water catchment areas

-The cellulose extracted from the woods is used in making leather tan.

-The nuts from the trees are used in making buttons

They are a source of bark cloth

-From the saps of some trees products like gum, rubber, glue, erasers are got.

CHARACTERISTICS OR FEATURES

-Forests are ever green due to high rainfall between 1500-2000mm annually and the high temperatures above 280c.

They are made of hard wood like Mahogany and Ebony

They are generally tall trees with wide spreading intertwining branches

The tree species are scattered in the forests (grow in mixed stands) a square km may have about 100 species

They grow in 3 different strata of trees above 30 meters, moderately fall strata of trees between 15 and 30 meters. In these strata, the trees are dome together and from a dense canopy, the third strata is of short trees below 15 meters.

The forests are composed of creepers, climbers and parasites which intertwine together making penetration difficult

At the boarders of the forests where sun light penetrates there is thick under growth.

Inside the forests where there is no sun light the ground is damp and littered with fallen leaves which form a thick layer of humus

The leaves are also constantly dropping with water

The trees have large trunks

Due to large trunks, the trees develop high buttress roots at the base in order to support the trees

They have aerial roots that develop from tops

They have wide spreading branches which lead to the formation of the Canopy.

They have broad leaves

They take long to mature (over 30-5- years)

 

PROBLEMS FACED IN THE EXPLOITATION OF THESE FORESTS

-It’s difficult to cut down the trees because they are made of hard wood

-It is hard to obtain the designed species because grow in mixed stands and it is also time consuming looking for the desired species

i.e. location and extraction of more valuable trees is difficult and expensive.

-Due to their different stratus when the tall trees are cut down they destroy the smaller trees.

Desired trees are usually the largest therefore may destroy small trees making felling hard.

-The creepers and climbers sometimes hold the trees midair after they have been cut down and it becomes dangerous to lower the trees

-It is hard to penetrate the forests because of thick under growth at the boarders under story vegetables, tangled creepers and under growth makes access to desired species difficult.

-The dump environment makes the soil muddy and creates a way in transporting the wood.

The dripping leaves make the work irritating to be lumberers as water falls on them every time.

-The large trunks slow down the working speed. The great weight and size of hardwood trees makes felling hard even with modern machines.

-Due to long maturity when trees are cut down, it takes to get another forest.

The high buttress roots which grow up to 5 meters make it impossible to cut the tree from its base therefore lumberers have to climb ladders to cut the straight trunk.

-The climbing of ladders is dangerous. The trunk can be too wide to cut through.

-Since forests harbor wild animals, they are a threat to be lumberers and snakes are also threats and jungle environments encourage the breeding of mosquitoes which cause diseases.

-There is limited capital there for the forest resources cannot be fully exploited. Due to this it’s difficult to purchase more advanced equipment

i.e. electric saws there for most lumberers use hand sows or axes which are slow and inefficient.

-Limited market because the population in these areas is poor and hard wood has few uses and so it’s not highly demanded.

-Lack of skilled labour in order to exploit the forests efficiently avoid indiscriminate cutting of trees

-There has been extensive deforestation and now forest resources are few.

-Poor transport and network and few vehicles to transport the fallen wood.

-There are limited processing industries there for the wood has to be transported over long distances.

gabon

The great forest land lie in the Basin of Roguwe humbering is one of the important activities in Gabon an the country depends a lot on its exports.

The activity is carried out by both European farms using mechanized methods and Gabon enterprises.

Originally lumbering was concentrated at the ports and along the river, but this zone has been exhausted and the lumbers are moving further in land.

A new port called Owendo has been constructed as well as railway line which helps in transporting forest products.

Gabon has a good species of tree called Okoume which yields a rosy-scented soft wood that is highly demanded and is used in the manufacture of polwood.

Other tree species include Ozigo, mahogany and ebony. Most of its forests have been exhausted due to mismanagement but measures are being taken to conserve the forests

CONGO:

Timber is a leading export accounting for about 40% of the export earnings. Besides Okuome they also export Lumba tree.

Most of its forests near the coast have been exhausted and the lumberers are moving in land.

 LIBERIA

Logs comprise the third position in the export earnings. A third of the country is covered by forests.

The government encourages the export of sawn timber richer than logs because they are of a more commercial value.

This has encouraged growth of secondary processing industries.

Other countries where lumbering is important include Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Central African Republic.

 

TROPICAL AMERICA

The forests occupy areas; the export of timber from these countries is small. The larger producer and exporter of timber is Brazil. The amazon contains vast varieties of hard wood but little of it has been exploited e.g. Mahogany and Rosy wood.

 

TROPICAL ASIA

Timber is an important export item in countries like Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Burma. In Philippines about 2/5 of the total area is covered with commercially exploitable forests.

 

TEMPERATURE FORESTS

They are of two types: Broad leafed and coniferous forests where the two are combined it’s called a mixed forest.

These forests are mainly located in North America, north Europe, north Asia and South Australia.

The broad leafed forests are found 300 – 600 North or south of the equator. The coniferous forests (Boreal) are found 500-600 North and south of the equator in the colder regions.

 

Types of trees

The Coniferous Include: Douglas fir, pine, hemlock, spruce.

The broad leafed include: Ash, Oak, Beach, cider, walnut.

 

Importance of these forests

-Used in making of paper and pulp products.

-Used in building and construction.

-Used in the manufacture of rayon.

-Its cellose is used in the manufacture of elastics and fuel.

-Used in the manufacture of match sticks.

-The fibers are used in the production of taropentine, paints and polish.

-Used in manufacture of crates and boxes for the transportation of goods.

-It offers employment.

-Forests are a tourist attraction.

-The forests modify the climates.

-Habitat for wild animals.

-They act as wind breakers and soil conservers.

 

Characteristic features of temperate forests.

-The deciduous trees are broad leafed while coniferous trees have needle like leaves

-The broad leafed forests shed their leaves while of coniferous are ever green.

-The coniferous trees are corn shaped, so the snow slides off them easily.

-The trees grow in pure stands.

-The forests have to go undergrowth or greepers.

-The trees have straight narrow trunks.

-The coniferous have soft wood while the deciduous are mixed.

-The trees are almost of the same height.

-The trees take a short time to mature i.e about 15 years.

-The coniferous have wide spreading shallow roots and thick barks. The trees roots help in absorption of water while the barks retain it.

Advantages of exploiting temperate forests

  1. Since they grow in pure stands, it’s easy to identify the desired species and there for exploit it.
  2. The trees are easy to cut down because they are made of soft wood.
  3. The trees take a short time to mature when cut down and replanted the forests re-grow quickly.
  4. They are easy to cut down because their trucks are narrow and straight.
  5. The forests are easy to penetrate due to absence of undergrowth.
  6. The logs are transported easily because the wood is light.
  7. There is efficient transports i.e. the roads are well constructed and trucks are available. In addition to this there are a number of rivers on which the logs can be floated to the processing centers.
  8. Availability of capital which has enabled them to use advanced methods of lumbering like electric saws which are fast and efficient.
  1. They are surrounded by developed countries which provide market. Soft wood is highly demanded because it serves many purposes.
  2. They have skilled labour which lumber the wood effectively in order to ensure that there is no over exploitation
  3. They have many processing industries: they are able to twin their logs into useful products.
  4. They have levels of technology

PROBLEMS FACED IN THESE AREAS

  1. The trees can easily catch fire
  2. Lumbering is hand during winter and sometimes the lumberers become unemployed.
  3. During winter it is very difficult to move trucks along the roads
  4. Since the trees grow in pure stands when attached by a disease it spreads easily.
  5. There has been massive over-exploitation especially in the forestlands close to coastal areas.
  6. Therefore the coniferous pricks and invert bites.

 Solutions

  1. Frequent patrolling of the area, construction of watch towers so that if there is a fire it can easily be detected and stopped.
  2. During winter logging is done on lower altitude and in summer it’s done on lower altitude and in summer its done on high altitudes.
  3. They use the breakers to remove the snow one the roads.
  1. Spraying 2 stop diseases and pests or cutting down the infected trees before the disease spreads.
  2. They have licensed lumberers to guard against over – exploitations
  3. They were protective clothes for example cloves, helmets, gumboots

 

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