An addiction hard to left

The black widow is made love by the male, who in his last pleasant moments ignores his immediate future. Finished the loving rite the female sticks his poisonous sting and the unfortunate lover falls to the ground instantly. There is no scientific explanation for as strange as unnatural behavior.

The humans are wood lovers, and every time we love more them. To obtain it, we logging forests compulsively. Like the pair of the Latrodectus mactans, scientific name of the widow, we are unaware of our act and the future that it holds for us if we continue with the hostile depredation of the jungles.

We recognize that the analogy is extremely hard, but we consider it necessary to create awareness, objective and motto of our dissemination work. The good news is that the difference between the unfortunate male arachnid and Homo sapiens is that we are still in time to know the problem thoroughly and demand that the looting of the forests be stopped. The bad news is related to the new threats to the Amazon rainforest.

Due to our love for wood and the increasing commercialization of forests in the world, we must be clear that the problem is not easy to solve. Our love for wood is eternal and ancestral. Already in the Paleolithic wood log houses were made 28 thousand years ago. But it was in the twentieth century when the addiction to wood gained strength, especially after the conclusion of World War II, and has continued with greater impetus in this unpredictable 21st century, which has changed our lives for everyone. From 1945 to today the world population has multiplied by almost four, from two billion to 7.5 billion inhabitants. Fact that undoubtedly affects the forest systems of our planet, which represent much more than trees, biomes and ecosystems, as we will see in the second part of this article.

China is the largest consumer of wood in the world, not only because of its huge population but because it has been joined in recent decades by several million millionaires. If we stick to the figures of imports from the Asian country, these new players should love the tongue-and-groove ceilings, the floors and stairs of thick planks, the furniture and bars of precious woods and other items of the excellent vegetal pulp.

But also, in other parts of the world, love for wood has skyrocketed and consumers of table beams, columns, slats, railings, parquet and windowframes made from the heart and fiber of the noble trees have multiplied.

Eliminating addiction to wood is a complex issue since it is not only used for pleasure but for necessity. Wood does not have a substitute for now, except for iron, bronze, other metals, plastics, granite stones or marble.

The warmth of the wood, its texture and beauty is not provided by any other material, so it lets you fall in love easily. But the love of wood is a dangerous love, because without forests there is no life.

What would life be like without forests?

The love of wood has increased the commercialization of forestry, although the Earth’s vegetal coverage is among the list of nine limits of the planet, prepared by the Stockholm Resilience Center, between 2009 and 2015. According to this institution it would be highly dangerous to trespass these limits, but four have already exceeded that frontier. The vegetal cover, included among these, is referred especially to forests, tropical jungles and other green areas of the planet.

Another data to consider is the «Earth System», a science that covers chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics. It was created to try to understand our planet as an integrated system through the physical, chemical, biological and human interactions that determine the past, present and future states of the Earth.

A forest, for the benefit of its understanding, could be considered as a component or organ of the Earth system. Therefore, as every organ has an anatomy and a physiology. The first refers to its shape, structure and all the biotic and abiotic components that make it up. The second, refers to the functioning of the system and its interrelation with other places beyond its limits.

The physiology of the forest is used first to itself, through the generation of the water cycle, whose first beneficiary is the forest itself, due to the precipitations of the vital liquid that it receives. Secondly, this functioning is useful for other regions, some of which are hundreds or even thousands of kilometers away. In the case of the Amazon, the evaporation of water that produces the largest rainforest on the planet is vital to water the Andes mountains in almost all its extension. That is why hostile deforestation of Amazon rainforest, the lung of the world is very dangerous. A smaller number of trees corresponds to a lower formation of clouds and rains. Consequently, moisture and river flow decrease, prolonged droughts, permanent fires and new deserts are formed. The quantities and extensions of which depend on how hostile the felling of the forest is. Humanity already has a clear example of all this in the disaster that occurred in the Borneo rainforest.

But the water cycle is not the only function of forests. Trees produce oxygen, vital to most species, and in turn absorb carbon dioxide, CO2, which causes the greatest global warming. During photosynthesis, the process carried out by trees and most plants, they absorb and store CO2, which is fixed in its roots, trunks and leaves in the form of carbon. The plants, although they take oxygen from the air and re-enter carbon dioxide, the final balance is positive in favor of the extraction of CO2 from the atmosphere. The absorption capacity of carbon dioxide is directly proportional to the size, density and quantity of plants and trees present in a forest.

Finally, the deforestation of the forests would affect the Earth system itself, by becoming the first contributor to the planet’s climate change and the extinction of species. To affirm this we base ourselves on the fact that there is no plan to replace the wood with other materials. Neither is there an effective action to prevent the illegal logging of trees, nor a timetable to reduce forest trade, as there are for the substitution of fossil fuels by clean energies.

In some countries, programs to remove internal combustion cars from motor traffic are already well advanced. The production of photovoltaic solar panels, wind mills and lithium batteries for electric cars is on the increase. Almost all vehicle manufacturers are already producing plug-in, silent, non-polluting cars that go in the right direction of the Paris Agreement. That is why we say that the felling of trees is a more acute problem than the emission of greenhouse gases. Without trees there is no life.

Sandor Alejandro Gerendas-Kiss