AskDefine | Define reforestation

Dictionary Definition

reforestation n : the restoration (replanting) of a forest that had been reduced by fire or cutting [syn: re-afforestation]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

From Latin re + forresta, forestis

Noun

  1. The act or process of replanting a forest, especially after clear-cutting.

Synonyms

Translations

replanting
  • Greek: αναδασωση (anadasosi)

Extensive Definition

Reforestation is the restocking of existing forests and woodlands which have been depleted, with native tree stock. The term reforestation can also refer to afforestation, the process of restoring and recreating areas of woodlands or forest that once existed but were deforested or otherwise removed or destroyed at some point in the past. The resulting forest can provide both ecosystem and resource benefits and has the potential to become a major carbon sink.

Natural reforestation

Reforestation can occur naturally if the area is left largely undisturbed. Native forests are often resilient and may re-establish themselves quickly. Conceptually, it involves taking no active role in reforesting a deforested area, but rather just letting nature take its course.

Managed reforestation

One debatable issue in managed reforestation is whether or not the succeeding forest will have the same biodiversity as the original forest. If the forest is replaced with only one species of tree and all other vegetation is prevented from growing back, a monoculture forest similar to agricultural crops would be the result. However, most reforestation involves the planting of different seedlots of seedlings taken from the area. More frequently multiple species are planted as well. Another important factor is the natural regeneration of a wide variety of plant and animal species that can occur on a clearcut. In some areas the suppression of forest fires for hundreds of years has resulted in large single aged and single specied forest stands. The logging of small clearcuts and or prescribed burning, actually increases the biodiversity in these areas by creating a greater variety of treestand ages and species.
Reforestation need not be only used for recovery of accidentally destroyed forests. In some countries, such as Finland, the forests are managed by the wood products and pulp and paper industry. In such an arrangement, like other crops, trees are replanted wherever they are cut. In such circumstances, the cutting of trees can be carefully done to allow easier reforestation. In Canada, the wood product and pulp and paper industry systematically replaces many of the trees it cuts, employing large numbers of summer workers for treeplanting work.
For example, in just 20 years, a teak plantation in Costa Rica can produce up to about 400 m³ of wood per hectare http://www.1-costaricalink.com/costa_rica_information/teak_growth_rate.htm. As the natural teak forests of Asia become more scarce or difficult to obtain, the prices commanded by plantation-grown teak grow higher every year. Other species such as mahogany grow slower than teak in Tropical America but are also extremely valuable. Faster growers include pine, eucalyptus, and gmelina.
Reforestation, if several native species are used, can provide other benefits in addition to financial returns, including restoration of the soil, rejuvenation of local flora and fauna, and the capturing and sequestering of 38 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare per year.
reforestation in German: Aufforstung
reforestation in Spanish: Reforestación
reforestation in French: Reboisement
reforestation in Italian: Rimboschimento
reforestation in Occitan (post 1500): Plantanha
reforestation in Simple English: Reforesting
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