When people talk about deforestation, the things that come to mind are usually negative thoughts, mostly caused by media hype and environmentalists. People think of global warming, the depletion of natural resources and the casual extinction of native fauna and flora. Yet people don’t seem to realize that there are actually quite a few benefits to deforestation.
One of the most easily recognized benefits of deforestation is the economic one. Wood products are one of the most important building materials in human society. Whether it’s raw wood used to make tables and houses, or paper and other wood by-products, we just can’t live without the use of wood. Like steel and stone, wood is one of the most basic natural resources, and unlike steel and stone, it can be regenerated simply by growing more trees. The only real trick to balancing consumption is to grow more trees to replace those taken.
Similarly, keep in mind that many jobs revolve around the use of wood. Apart from lumberjacks, there are people who work in processing plants to make glue from wood sap, process pulp into paper and others. This is another benefit of deforestation; it opens more job opportunities for people who would otherwise be unemployed. These vacancies are more than just a humanitarian concept; society as a whole would suffer if all the people working in the timber industry suddenly became unemployed.
This benefit of deforestation not only covers the people who cut down and process trees, but also extends to the people who “clean up” afterwards. For every piece of forest that is cleared, arable land becomes available to farmers, or can be used as an area to place urban living spaces, such as apartments, houses and buildings. The number of people employed on such a construction project is numerous and varied. Or, if the city/government mandates tree replanting to replace the lost trees, jobs are also created for the people who do the seeding after a patch of forest has been cleared.
If you think about it, the cleared areas are places that offer a lot of growth potential, and this is yet another benefit of deforestation. As mentioned above, arable land is valuable, and the deforestation to make way for farmland provides a much-needed additional source of food for humans. More often than not, the soil in a forest is much richer than that of regular agricultural lands due to the wide variety of life it supports. This new land area provides a much-needed place to grow a food supply to cope with the world’s steadily growing population.
Then, of course, there’s the fact that these cleared areas could be razed to the ground for urban renewal. Given our burgeoning population growth, creating additional living space on cleared forest is another benefit of deforestation. These places can be transformed into more than just residential areas. Buildings can be placed in these deforested areas that can house offices for work, or factories to produce clothing and other essential items, or even research facilities for things like new medical or technological advancements.
Finally, another benefit of deforestation to consider is the access it provides to other natural resources that may be within the land area of the forest. Some places of heavy forests harbor iron ore, minerals and even oil deposits that can be used for human needs. These natural resources would otherwise remain dormant and untapped unless humans gain access to them. The act of deforestation is sometimes not entirely necessary to get to these deposits, but coupled with the benefits listed above, the combination of opening a new mine or oil well with additional living space or farmland for food makes a lot of sense.
So, given all the benefits of deforestation described above, you can see that more often than not, the good outweighs the bad. The planet’s environment may indeed suffer from the effects of deforestation, but that is due to irresponsible use of the resources and other benefits provided, not the deforestation itself. As humans living on the planet, it is not our duty to “hold back” and stop cutting down trees. It is to use responsibly and wisely what we collect from the earth for humanity and the planet.