The need for larger natural forests is greater today than ever before. Forests provide humans with just about everything we need to survive, from the food we eat to the healthy air we breathe. They also maintain natural balances that keep this world habitable.
As human populations grow and industry expands to meet the greater need, demands made of the few remaining forests are also increased. Because forests work to counteract the contamination and pollutions from industry and human development, the need for more forests is near desperate proportions.
The greatest factor that decides how long a forest will take to grow is what type of forest is needed and what it will provide. Following are some of the most common forests being planted today, along with helpful information on maturity.
A Forest for Lumber
Lumber forests lack most chemical herbicides, fertilizers and pesticides found in fruit orchards, for example, and generally contain a decent amount of wildlife and undergrowth. This makes them forest-like in appearance and a primary subject for scientific forestation practices.
The time it takes for a lumber forest to mature depends on the type of lumber product being cultivated. Birch for chipboard or paper can be thinned for the first time after 10 or 20 years. A forest of red oak grown for lumber will be ready for harvesting in 52 years, with trees about 25ft. high and worth about $6.00 apiece.
Forests for Parks, Gardens, Scenery, and Windbreakers
While these might also be considered orchards, lush groupings of trees in and around urban areas are essential for comfortable urban living. Often trees for these urban forests are selected for their capacity to grow quickly and provide a specific purpose.
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Eucalyptus and American Sycamore are some perfect examples of beautiful trees that grow quickly and provide plenty of shade under their extensive boughs. The Leyland Cyprus smells very nice and can be planted as an effective forest barrier that shields homes and schools from noisy unpleasant freeways. Each of these trees can reach a staggering height of 30ft. in only 3 years. 3,4
For creating gardens and parks with exquisite natural environments perfect for forest therapy and relaxation, some fast-growing trees are selected for their beauty and aromatic qualities. The Royal Empress Tree, paulownia elongate, is not only beautiful and fast-growing but has an unparalleled capacity to sequester contaminants in the soil. 5,6
The hardy Royal Empress thrives in many environments and is the best thing for transforming a city scene into something beautiful. The Empress trees have been called the most environmentally beneficial trees on the planet.
Forests for Climate Change Mitigation
Reforestation projects are in place across the planet looking to bolster the carbon cycle by planting more trees and forests. Trees and forests function as air filters removing particulate matter from the air along with greenhouse gases, locking these elements away in the carbon sink. It is safe to say that over half of the carbon that could potentially be released into the atmosphere exists in forests and trees.
There are many strategies at play on a global scale that seek to mitigate climate change by planting forests. Some involve the reforestation of specific areas and others seek to optimize the conditions of existing forests to begin reclaiming deforested regions. 7
At the Gorodok Forestry of the Molodechno Forestry Enterprise, scientists are perfecting a cassette seed system. The new design allows pine trees to be planted in small nutritious cups that ease them through their adaptation process and grow into a forest in a short time. After only two years in the nursery, the small trees will spend a little time outdoors before they are ready to be relocated in the wild.
This technique has been especially effective in reversing the damage and airborne radioactive dust that still lingers near Pripyat from the Chernobyl incident. Over the past 13 years, this technique has been used in creating over 14,000 hectares of woodland. 8
How long will it take for a Rainforest to grow?
You can plant a tree and reforest areas that have been damaged, but to actually restore the ecosystems lost is another matter altogether. According to a study performed on the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest, it can take up to 4000 years to regain natural identity.
When you see a forest, you are looking at the final result of countless millennia of evolution, an evolution that humans were once an integral part of. Trees develop with the animals that live nearby and vice versa.
Maybe humans are moving too fast to understand this balance in its immensity. Perhaps the easiest way to grow a rainforest is to preserve the few we have left. 9
Final Thoughts on Growing a Forest
Planting a forest is by far the most altruistic action a human can take as the benefits of the new world created will be enjoyed by future generations. The forests we create and preserve today will be the health, happiness, and fresh air for those hereafter. If you can’t enjoy the lovely benefits of the forest in your everyday life, try our Forest personal aromatherapy diffusers with black spruce, douglas fir, and sandalwood essential oils.
Photo credits: TomClausen/shutterstock.com, BarryBlackburn/shutterstock.com, Lisa5189/shutterstock.com, EfimenkoAlexander/shutterstock.com