Why can’t we use agricultural equipment to plant forests?

61 views

Every season we have farmers plant fields. Sometimes 100’s of archers large. They have heavy machinery. And with just a handful of men. They are able to plow and seed these fields.
Why can’t the same skill set and machinery plant a forest? Say, in the midwest or on the out skirts of the Dust Bowl? Or in the ever eroding South American Rain Forest?

In: 1

Not all forests are destroyed for lumber. A lot of forests are destroyed to make more farmland for humans. They don’t replant the forest because they want to grow crops there.

Aside from that, it takes a long time to grow a forest. Even pine forests grown strictly for lumber take years to mature. Other forests might take decades. It’s easier to just find more forests to destroy and turn the land you leave behind into something else profitable, and there aren’t laws that punish people for it.

The South American Rainforest isn’t being eroded away. It’s being destroyed intentionally to create farmable land for profit.

We absolutely can. Forestry does it all the time to grow timber. Forestry tends to be a less alive monocrop of good wood trees, but you could make a more diverse forest if you wanted. It’s done all the time to reforest areas.

The reality is profitability/utility. The Amazon for instance is being replaced by farms and other industrial activity. This is *popular policy* in parts of Brazil because it has boosted GDP significantly.

Likewise I’ve heard upset here in NZ when dairy farms are turned into timber forests due to job loses.

Hypothetically they could, there are agricultural machines that are used to plant trees in groves.
The problem is the forests/rainforest aren’t really “eroding”. They’re being cut down and burned for development and farmland. So that’s more of a legal/economics issue in terms of solutions.

Additionally trees need more water and soil nutrients than are naturally available in certain areas. So even if you planted a ton of trees it may not necessarily survive to become a “forest” depending on the location.

I live in an area with a large number of coal mines. I don’t know exactly what equipment is used but this happens frequently, most of the ground was farmland before mining so it’s replanted as pasture, but some of it is forest.

If they’re planting trees it’s usually a better idea to plant seedlings instead of seeds so you’ll see clear rows in replanted forests.

Lumber *is* farmed, meaning they plant trees in lots. One lot gets cut down one year and is replanted, then the next lot gets cut down and replanted next year, and so on and so forth.

At least, that’s how it’s done in North America.

We do farm forests. Most logging in North America is done via farming methods where the logging companies plant new saplings after they remove trees from a given area.

The Midwest has some forests, but it is also largely plains. Planting a lot of forests there would drastically change the environment and ecosystem, destroying what naturally lives in the area.

The Dustbowl is not a region. It was a specific climate disaster that occurred during the depression. Farmers tilled too much of the prairie to make farms and did not grow the kinds of plants necessary to keep the fertile soil on the ground. After being tilled the now loose soil blew away. This mad for massive dust storms that cause lots of problems, and rendered formerly fertile land incapable of supporting crops.

There are automated tree planters but much of the world’s forested areas tend to be in fairly rough terrain: The areas that were nice and flat tend to have long ago been turned into farmland. The exception as mentioned is places like the amazon basin which were previously inhospitable and tough to convert to farms.

In rough terrain, they usually hand plant. A forester will have a backpack full of small seedlings basically rooted in test tubes or small paper tubes (they are not grown from seed, they are tissue cultured usually). That forester has a spike to punch a hole in the dirt, drops a seedling into it, steps on the side to press the dirt around the seedlings roots, and walks on. They usually count steps to the next place so that seedlings are spaced about evenly.

One gets planted every 15 to 30 seconds..and that makes for a long day of climbing in that rough terrain.

In western Oregon, much of the timber is on steep terrain. Hard to log and harder to replant.