posted on Aug, 25 2005 @ 10:13 PM
Originally posted by Quest
That being said, there are many many other reasons not to destroy any more forest. Especially old growth ones. If we need trees, that why we have tree
It's sorta definitional thing, but there is no such thing as an old growth tree. Forests are old growth. Individual trees are not.
There is no single definition for what constitutes an old growth forest. The contiguous U.S. has 145 different forest types, most with subtypes, and
every type and subtype will have its own criteria. Some do not have a definition established yet, and some still have more than one definition
competing for consensus acceptance. A few never developed what is commonly considered old growth characteristics.
That being said, old growth forests are comprised of many different elements, only one of which may be large old trees (large and old are relative
terms. Quaking Aspen is old at 70. Sequoias are still teenagers at 200).
You can have a stand consisting entirely of large old trees and still not necessarily be an old growth forest. Old growth characteristics can develop
in a stand without large old trees. Old growth is more a function of stand composition and structure than the sizes and ages of the trees.
Big trees are pleasant to look at, but from a forest ecology standpoint size and age are largely irrelevant. In the dry interior forests of western
North America, old growth is not biodiverse and has been described as a 'biological desert'. Young seral forests have far more biodiversity and
support a far greater number of different plant and animal species. And produce more oxygen and sequester more carbon.