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Clearcutting - The Debate over Clearcutting



Proponents 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".


Opponents 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".

Where It Stands

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