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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Blanton Forest - 656 words
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Blanton Forest is the largest contiguous unprotected old-growth hardwood forest in the Eastern United States. The 6,000+ acre design for the future Blanton Forest Nature Preserve includes 2,350 acres of pristine old-growth wilderness including 200+ year-old trees and Watts Creek, a sanctuary for the endangered Blackside dace fish. It belongs to a type of diverse temperate forest class called "mixed mesophytic" that is considered called both "globally significant" and "critically endangered" by the World Wildlife Fund. Ninety-five percent of the nation's native forests have been logged. Most of the remaining five percent lie on public lands, but are subject to taxpayer subsidized logging. The result: deforestation, polluted drinking water and endangered species. Logging companies claim the U.S.
needs the lumber and jobs, but National Forests supply less than four percent of U.S. demand. Economic studies show that forests are worth far more standing and provide more jobs than when they are cut down and made into two by fours. Is it really a choice between "owls and jobs" or is that just corporate spin to justify continuing subsidies for logging companies? What will be the future of our National Forests? From a social and economic perspective, our National Forests are far more valuable standing, growing, dying, and regenerating where they are than cut down and converted into two by fours and paper products. While lumber and wood products are readily available from the 80% of forested land in the United States outside National Forests, clean water, recreation, wildlife and other public uses and values of immense economic benefit generally are not. The small share of the forested land base included in our National Forest system must shoulder nearly 100% of the burden of providing these uses and values. National Forests provide many social and economic contributions to the nation, simply by existing as natural ecosystems. Natural resource economists have coined the term "ecosystem services" to describe such contributions. They include important functions such as flood control, purification of water, recycling of nutrients and wastes, production of soils, carbon sequestering, pollination, and natural control of pests
They include valuable products such as plants used in manufacturing life-saving medicines, edible mushrooms, and floral greens. They include a diversity of uses such as recreation, hunting and fishing. And they include scenic, aesthetic, and cultural values that are important quality of life factors for communities adjacent to our National Forests. Economists have recently estimated that ecosystem services provided by natural forests worldwide are worth at least $4.7 trillion per year. On National Forest lands, ecosystem service values dwarf the value of our National Forests for timber production. For instance: National Forests supply over 530.4 million acre-feet of clean water each year to municipalities, businesses, and rural residents.
Economists estimate that the value of this water for consumptive purposes alone is over $3.7 billion per year. This figure does not include the value of maintaining wild fish species, recreation, or the cost savings to municipalities who have reduced filtration costs because water from National Forests is so clean. National Forests sequester over 53 million metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere each year. Economists have estimated that this function is worth nearly $3.4 billion each year. Recreation, hunting and fishing on our National Forests contribute at least $111 billion to the gross domestic product and generate 2.9 million jobs each year. These uses contribute 31.4 times more value to GDP and generate 38.1 times more jobs that the timber sale program. National Forests provide habitat for tens of thousands of wild pollinators.
Researchers have estimated the potential contribution of wild pollinators to the U.S. agricultural economy to be in the order of $4-7 billion per year. In contrast, the Forest Service recently estimated that its timber sale program generated net economic benefits of only $354 million and 55,535 jobs in 1997. However, these figures are substantially overstated. They do not include the vast majority of costs created by the logging program, which are largely externalized onto communities, businesses, and individuals who benefit from forest protection.
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