15 julio, 2024

Forest exploitation: concept, activities, types, consequences

what is the logging?

The andForestry exploitation encompasses all those economic activities that take advantage of the natural resources of forests and jungles. Within the classic sectoral division of the economy, logging is included in the primary activities, along with fishing or agriculture, among others.

Part of this exploitation is also called forestry. These are defined as the techniques that are used in forests so that the production of resources is continuous. The forestry economy is based precisely on getting the most out of the products offered by these wooded or jungle masses.

Among the most common types of exploitation are the use of wood, either directly or more indirectly. In the latter case, there is the use of the raw material to obtain cellulose, resin, rubber or other elements that require processing.

The consequences of intensive forest exploitation are enormously negative in the ecological aspect. Deforestation brings with it fires, the disappearance of animal species or the increase of CO₂ in the atmosphere. For this reason, various international plans have been developed to try to impose a sustainable exploitation of these resources.

Primary logging activities

The primary activities in the economic field are those that depend on natural resources. From what the planet offers (water, crops, land, minerals…) the products destined to serve as food or as raw materials are obtained.

The denomination «primary» comes from the fact that these economic activities are the basis of the others. Without the raw materials obtained through the exploitation of natural resources, the rest of the economic sectors could not develop.

Logging is one of these primary activities. It is one of the oldest, since human beings have always taken advantage of what forests and jungles offered.

From the wood of the trees to materials such as resin, forest masses have been the source of many products used to, for example, generate energy or make paper.


Human beings have created a series of techniques to be able to develop logging as a primary activity. The name given to this discipline in forestry, a term that comes from the Latin “silva” (forest, jungle) and “cultura” (cultivation).

Forestry, in its theoretical aspect, is responsible for finding the best way to manage forest masses in order to obtain economic benefits. In recent years, several aspects have been incorporated so that exploitation is not destructive, but is carried out in a sustainable manner.

Since the production obtained with forestry is very diverse, sometimes you have to deal with some compatibility problems between the types of production. This, in a general way, is usually divided into two, the direct and the indirect.

The first is the one that is in charge of obtaining immediate products, as well as raw materials. This type includes firewood, cork or resin. Also, for example, the hunting that takes place in these areas.

For its part, indirect production is one in which benefits are generated by the simple existence of forests. Carbon sequestration or erosion reduction are two clear signs.

forest economy

Forest exploitation has been so important that, in some countries, the so-called forest economy has been established. This is based on wood obtained from trees and is quite common in underdeveloped nations and with favorable climates for forest masses.

Wood, apart from its direct use, is used to obtain a large number of products. Among them, paper cellulose, viscose or celluloid for photographic films. Likewise, it has been used as a means of producing energy.

Types of forest exploitation

There are various ways of dividing logging by type. The first is according to the objectives sought with the activity. The first of these types is intended to achieve the greatest amount of production possible.

On the other hand, if the most important thing is quality, production will adjust to the available resources. In this case, too, the forest mass affected by the activity is measured in a more sustainable way in order to make it lasting.

Forestry studies, for example, are based on expected long-term production, 10, 50 or 100 years. That is why it is essential that the forest area does not decrease until it reaches a point of no return.

Forestry activity for agricultural purposes

The benefits of this type of activity are only profitable in the short term. In addition, it needs to be very well planned so as not to cause irreparable damage to the forest mass.

In some areas, rubber and oil palm have been cultivated that have achieved environmental benefits, such as maintaining forest structure and improving water conservation.

tree plantations

One of the most traditional types of logging has been the felling of natural forests to replace the trees with more profitable ones. This occurred, especially, in the timber areas, where the species that produced the most profits were planted.

In recent years, this type of performance has been declining. The negative environmental consequences have turned them into counterproductive.

Use of Forest Resources

Apart from wood, forests provide many other highly demanded and economically profitable products. A small summary includes camphor, rubber, cork, cellulose or resin.

This variety has led to the appearance of specialized forest exploitations in each one of them.

Consequences of logging

Logging and indiscriminate exploitation have had a series of negative consequences for nature. Discounting illegal deforestation, the lack of long-term vision has led to the disappearance or impoverishment of many forest areas.

Flora and fauna

The first consequence of the aforementioned is the loss of forest resources. In some cases, indiscriminate felling has led to the total disappearance of forests.

In others, homogeneous areas have been created to take advantage of some specific resources. Although the forests still exist, the diversity has disappeared, something negative for the environment.

The consequences not only affect the flora. The wooded masses are the habitat of many animal species. Their disappearance supposes, in many cases, the extinction of the fauna that lives in them.

soil and pollution

The lack of tree mass is also very negative in other aspects. The roots are fundamental to consolidate the soil and that it is not degraded by erosion. In the long term, the effects can render the land unproductive.

Finally, it is worth noting the importance of forests to control CO2 in the atmosphere.

A solution: sustainable exploitation

Although environmentalists call for the total stoppage of this economic activity, the truth is that experts do not see this solution as viable. Instead, various agencies have drawn up protocols so that the damage is as little as possible.

In fact, it is considered that exploitation with sustainability criteria can even be positive for forests.

To achieve this, Sustainable Forest Management was born. The criteria that govern it were established in a conference for the purpose of the United Nations in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The pillars that must be respected are three: ecological, economic and sociocultural.

The objective is to reduce the disappearance of jungles and forests, while recognizing the need that certain populations have to take advantage of their resources. The different regulations approved try to make both facts compatible.

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