Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sighs of the Forest

I've avoided writing about forests mainly because it's become a more depressing subject than one might expect. It isn't just some green cult pervasiveness in modern society or the climbing climate change stats that has brought this about; there were figures when I was a boy in the sixties stating that a football field of forest was cleared every two seconds (or maybe it was only one in every two minutes or one every two hours and the rate has increased in 21C). Now you'd expect that after nearly fifty years there wouldn't be much forest left and the deserts would have expanded. Well, I don't have the fortitude to investigate this, but here is my continuance of examining the largest of 'things in the world'

The lists don't seem to be able to single out forests so perhaps the differently named woods meet up. Here instead are the countries with the most forest cover:

The Russian Federation is covered in 809 million hectares of forest, Brazil 478 million hectares, Canada 310 million hectares, the US has 303 million remaining, 197 million hectares of Chinese forest, we have 164 million hectares of mainly eucalyptus, but also groves of acacia and melaleuca; 134 million hectares in the Congo, 88 million hectares Indonesia, 69 million hectares in Peru, and 68 million hectares make up the forests of India.

The single largest is the Amazon rainforest, described as "the lungs of the world" but with a shallow root system.

The tallest forest is on display.

The longest forest is the Siberian taiga, which stretches 5,700 kilometers from west to east and 1,000 kilometers from north to south through northern Russia, Norway, Finland and Sweden, covering some 2.7 billion acres. 


India has had government lotteries to encourage vasectomies and China imposes a strict one-child policy for families, this begs the question as to why countries with overpopulation issues should also have so much forest. This observation isn't to suggest that more forest is cleared or that more people nominate for a tree change, I am curious as to the seeming discrepancy. Does it have to do with the fact that the forested regions consist of mountain range or are otherwise inaccessible and not arable? And what about Africa. Is the Dem Republic third world and poor despite its forest or because of it? Or is there no correlation?

It is cool - gladed even - that one can still imagine experiencing the fictional exploits of Tarzan or Nyoka the Jungle Girl. Or The Phantom. The deep jungle is still there. As is Mowgli's Jungle Book India.


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