Timber from coniferous trees. Image credit thecanadianencyclopedia.ca

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Natural Resources: Uses of coniferous forests

  • Coniferous forests have also suffered more or less the same fate as the rainforests.
  • The loss to deforestation has however, been limited by better management styles and their quick maturing characteristic.
  • Coniferous softwoods are useful to mankind because:
    1. They can be used to make pulp and paper.
    2. They are fats growing, quick to mature and therefore replenish easily.
    3. Their straight and long trunks make them more useful for construction and furniture making.
    4. They are easier to extract because they appear in pure stands.
  • The extraction of timber is referred to as lumbering.
  • Human labour is employed to cut down the trees and transport logs to sawmills and pulp and paper mills.
  • The extraction is now highly mechanized.
  • Lumbering is confined to the winter season when it is easier to move logs to transporting points.
  • The timber is transported to mills by road, rail or floated down the rivers when snow melts in spring.
  • Loggers practice either selective or clear felling.
  • Selective felling involves the marking and cutting of only those trees required by the timber companies.
  • This method makes extraction and transportation of timber difficult.
  • It however, protects young trees from being extracted and the land from erosion.
  • Clear felling, involves the removal of all trees over an area.
  • This exposes the land to agents of degradation.
  • Transportation of logs is however easier and replacing programs can easily be instituted to ensure future supplies.

To access more topics go to the O Level Geography Notes page