Outlawing Sustainable Native Forests

The Parana pine is not a true pine.   If you look closely, you will see that it doesn’t have needles.   But it is a conifer native to the southern cone of South America and it is sublimely beautiful.   I have enjoyed them since I first saw them a quarter century ago.   There might be more of them if not for well-intentioned laws.

The Brazilian government makes it illegal to harvest a native tree like the Parana pine.   The law is meant to protect them, but what it ends up doing is making the trees practically useless.   Nobody can develop sustainable forestry with these species because even if you plant them yourself, you can never legally harvest them.    The best way to protect anything is to make it practically useful.  The loblolly pine is in no danger of becoming rare, for example.  Why is that? 

Sustainable forestry should be the goal of anyone truly interesting in protecting the environment.    There are many flavors of sustainable forestry, but all of them require some management of the land which means cutting some trees.  We really do not have a zero option.  Humans are present in the world and affect all aspects. It is better to recognize our responsibility than to neglect our duty by pretending we can just do nothing except make nice sounding laws.

Sustainable forestry would be possible with native species, but for now that is illegal. Instead the law almost requires the use of non-native imports.  You often get what you reward, even if that is not your intention.  In most cases the result counts more than the good intention.  The road to hell, after all, is paved with good intentions.