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The two types of forests
How should we think about forests?
As we tramped through kabaty forest I was reminded there are two types of forests; one where man decides how it should look and one where nature decides. This one is the former; the forest is beautiful, but is unmistakably touched by humans in every way. We would ideally like a more diverse forest floor; with evidence of decomposing tree's and a more wild, unkept look. I was taught the average lifecycle for old-growth forests was about 400 years. When man steps in to interrupt that natural cycle it can take a few hundred more years to get back into the natural rhythm.
There is debate about how to best manage forests. There is often discussion about harvesting forests, utilizing them responsibly, or just letting them be. As dead trees decompose, a very specific ecosystem develops; one in which very specific bacteria and insects thrive. These bacteria and insects give rise to a connected ecosystem that continues the growth cycle of the forest, creating topsoil that then in turn nourishes more growth, etc… Old growth forests are increasingly rare in our world, and deserving of every bit of protection we can offer them.
This is one aspect of bushcraft I find appealing; leave no trace, never cut live wood unless absolutely necessary, and to work with nature as opposed to against it. The wild isn't something to be tamed; man's insatiable desire to destroy it is.