Old growth forests are some of the remaining pristine ecosystems left from thousands of years ago and are being cut down in many areas. They are the grandfathers of the nature of the woods of the world, holding value beyond measure. They allow us to understand not only how things were on the planet even millions of years ago but show how things can change and the realities of evolution and adaptation. They may also possess the secret to future success, and in some cases prosperity. They also tie up carbon dioxide that can increase global warming. Yep, those old growth forests are important and the impact of their demise can be devastating.
Many realize the connection with history, the fact that these plants evolved millions of years ago and represent the past. These types of forests were around during the age of the Dinosaurs. The towering trees up people get a better concept or how big and diverse the world really was at one time. Entering an old growth forest is a step into a a past world, where people still believed in fairies and elves, and what is the impact of the destruction of the imagination? The old growth forests are where the Eints from Tolkien live!
The old growth forests are also filter of the earth, tying up carbon and pollutants that would otherwise accumulate in the atmosphere. The wood and plants are made primarily of cellulose, long complex carbon chains. They absorb the carbon dioxide from the air, combine it with water using sunlight for energy, add as few other compounds such as sulphur and nitrogen, then let sit and you get trees and plants, and cleaner air to breath. The impact of depleting these forests is the release of the carbon back into the atmosphere.
Many though don't care about the past, what's done is done, and there are always new plants that can take the place of those old trees. After all, grass and flowers are composed of the same chemicals. So are there other impacts from the depletion of old growth forests and would they be that severe? Could it impact the future? Can they be utilised without destroying them and would that create positive uses?
The old growth forests are one of the main resources for plant genetics found on the planet, and that may be crucial to the human race. DNA engineering for resistant crops and such can't be done if there is no DNA to be used or studied. Harder woods, better yields on the farms and even the beautiful flowers all come from those old growth forests. The forests are no only trees, but millions of other plants, all valuable for not only food and shelter, but also medicines. The cure for swine flu or AIDS may lie in those woods, and be lost if they are depleted!
So old growth forests are valuable for foods and medicines, but can also be used as tourist attractions. The soil is usually thin, so houses and fields for crops don't do well, but hiking paths properly maintained are excellent. This and the medicines may seem trivial, but people need those links with the past, those quiet natural places to rest and recover. The impact of losing those may mean there is no future for anyone!