ProsProponents of clearcutting suggest that it is a sound practice if the right conditions are met. Here are seven conditions:
- When regenerating tree species that need full sunlight to stimulate seed sprouting and seedling growth.
- When dealing with sparse or exposed or shallow-rooted trees that are in danger of being damaged by wind.
- When trying to produce an even-aged stand.
- When regenerating stands of tree species that are dependent on wind blown seed, root suckers or cones that need fire to drop seed.
- When faced with salvaging over-mature stands and/or stands killed by insects, disease or fire.
- When converting to another tree species by planting or seeding.
- To provide habitat for wildlife species that require edge, new ground and "high-density, even-aged stands".
ConsOpponents of clearcutting suggest that it is a destructive practice and should never be done. Here are their reasons, although not every one can be supported by current scientific data:
- A clearcut increases soil erosion, water degradation and increased silting in creeks, rivers and reservoirs.
- Old growth forests, which have been systematically clearcut, are healthy ecosystems which have evolved over centuries to be more resistant to insects and disease.
- Aesthetics and quality forest views are compromised by clearcutting.
- Deforestation and the resulting removal of tree from clearcutting leads to a "plantation forestry" mentality and results in "environmental degradation".