Who would ever have thought that those great big forests we have in New Zealand, the pine plantations are actually massive polluters?
They are actually.
We know the drill. Cities are gray pollution farms and forests are verdant planetary saviors. We also know it’s more complicated than that. Here’s an interesting way a seemingly “green” forest can be a source of pollution.
Approximately 30 percent of forested land in Japan consists of plantations. Some of them are new, well-managed, and environmentally sound. Others are old, and have fallen out of use. The older plantations tend to be cedar and cypress farms, which were first planted over forty years ago, when demand for these kinds of wood were high. It has dropped since then, and the farms aren’t being managed anymore, but the trees are still around.
Like animals, plants have a youth during which they need certain kinds of nutrition. Young trees and plants take up a great deal of nitrogen. One of the major problems for farmers, before commercial fertilizers and crop rotation, was the fact that new-planted crops would suck all the nitrogen out of fields. Each successive generation of crops would leave the soil more and more impoverished until harvests failed and people starved. Growing plants need nitrogen. Read more »