Inappropriate tree plantations

Other Names:
Forestry without ecology
Degradation of the environment by trees
Undesigned tree-planting plan
Low biodiversity of tree plantations
Inappropriate afforestation
Inappropriate re-forestation
Tree farming

A forest as an entity is a complex integrated, self-regulated system, very different from stands of trees grown for economic value, which are usually even-aged monocultures of fast-growing non-endemic species. In most current afforestation schemes, forests are collection of trees of varying timber value or social utility. This narrow perception has allowed application of monoculture, including aged plantations, to meet with most global forestry needs.


Multinational companies have realized that they may run out of raw wood if they do not plant more trees, so they are producing eucalyptus and other fast-growing trees. These are extravagant users of water and nutrients, competing with crops and degrading good land, and producing little social benefit for the neighbouring people. During the period 1968 to 1980, 32 forestry projects were financed through the world. Of these, 21 used pines (Pinus spp) or eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp) as the main species. The total number of species chosen for internationally-funded projects worldwide was about 35.

It was reported in 1997 that public money running into millions of pounds was wasted replanting trees in Great Britain after the great storm of 1987 and the places where nature was left alone had the most prolific regrowth. The woodlands have seen a burst of regeneration where the canopy was opened and light let in. Saplings and shrubs grew up to 20 feet in ten years and there was a noticeable increase in insects, birds and flowering plants such as violets and primroses. Natural disturbance added variety to a woodland. More damage was done by well-intentioned cleaning up than by the storm itself. Many of the trees planted that autumn were planted hurriedly, badly, and they died. Clearing up with bulldozers and tractors had compacted the seedbed and many places had ended up "something like a car park". "Politicians feel they need to be doing something. They need to feel they are spending money and the most obvious way to do it was to clean up the damage. It would not be politically possible to just do nothing at all.".

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 15: Life on Land
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST