Logging is described as the felling of the trees in the rainforest using
artificial means (chainsaws, axes, bulldozers) for commercial purposes whether
by large corporations or individuals. Logging is of two possible types:
1. Monocyclic silvicultural system: All trees in a given area is
2. Polycyclic system: Only a few specified trees in a given area
is cut, leaving a majority of the rest standing.
- Low-intensity selective logging in a polycyclic system allows the
forest to regrow.
- However, the process used at present is a monocyclic silvicultural
system with many stems felled per hectare. This results in:
1. Shifting species composition: Bare areas left
in the forest results in competition which gives rise to more light-demanding,
faster species of smaller plants, thus developing a secondary forest of
pioneers, and exterminating the original inhabitants which were the big
In the year 2000, Greenpeace set up an office deep in the heart of the
Brazilian Amazon to track and monitor illegal logging, map logging areas,
and take action in Brazil and in the international marketplace against the
offending companies. They developed a technique to track illegal logging
back to the exporting companies using ultraviolet paint. Over the
duration of their research, they collected some valuable statistical facts
and figures to emphasize the extent of the illegal logging taking place in
2. Compacted soil: The soil of the Amazonian rainforest is
a a mixture of loam, sand and clay, making it very soluble in water.
Because there is no more roots to hold down the soil, it allows the soil to
wash off with rain water, resulting in erosion and leaving the land barren;
another side-effect of this eroded soil is easy take-over of the forest floor
by creeping plants and ferns.
3. Dammed streams: High intensity logging can result in some
trees damming up streams and without the presence of culverts, the water
distribution is changed, killing nearby forest, and paving the way for the
development of swamps.
4. Vulnerability to fires: The loss of canopy cover caused by
cutting down all the large trees leave the remaining forest much more vulnerable
to forest fires.
5. Encourages other activities: Clearing the forest and building
roads on it provides easy access for such activities as large-scale hunting
and poaching, fuel-wood gathering, clearing of land for agriculture.
Logging Stats, Facts and Figures