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Ok, the thing is Jérôme replied to my comment on Germany in an all-organic world at current consumption levels, in which case it's unambiguous that deforestation would be necessary. So this is what I repeated.
But overall, you're right, deforestation in Europe doesn't hold. Then again, this all depends on what's been going on over the past century.
Meat production has gone up, crop production has gone up, housings have multiplied (the population has gone up), yet the forest surface has also gone up ... how did we pull this off in Europe?
Well naturally because progresses have been made in production levels, mainly through the use of better (stronger) fertilizers. Thus I don't think it's fair to say that deforestation is not an issue in Europe. It simply may not have been an issue so far because of the humongous progresses made since WWII in the oil-fertilizer department. Take that away (soon ...) and bam, we'll be just like third-world countries (which à priori do not use/afford as much fertilizer as we do) ...
Anyhow about the industrial age, I found this on the CIDA forestry advisers network website:
Meanwhile, back in Europe, the arrival of the Industrial Revolution put tremendous pressure on the remaining forests to supply fuel for the smelters and foundries of the new industries. Before the end of the 19th century, most of the Europe's ancient forests were only distant memories.
Historically the massive production of charcoal (at its height employing hundreds of thousands, mainly in Alpine and neighbouring forrests) has been a major cause of deforestation, especially in Central Europe, but to a lesser extent even before, as in Stuart England. The increasing scarcity of easily harvested wood was a major factor for the switch to the fossil equivalents, mainly coal and brown coal for industrial use.
But this bit you cite from Wikipedia clearly tells me that I was way off!!
It's like oil: at some point before it's totally depleted it will take more oil to power the extracion operations than is produced. At that point, oil ceases to be an energy source and becomes an expensive input to the chemical industry.
Remember the plan to build a nuclear power plant in order to get oil out of the Canadian oil sands?
A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
Don't think I don't agree with you that we produce and consume meat at unsustainable levels, I do. I'm just chipping at some of your arguments I find a bit wilder than others.
This will be my demise, argh.
the richer bottom lands are still treeless, whipped by chemicals into growing tobacco, but many of the hill farms are reverting fast.
when i saw de lang on tv overlooking france from a helicopter, saying that if it were not for the cap, all the farmland would be swallowed by woods quite quickly.
i have mixed feelings about this, as i imagine the woods would be cut pretty swiftly and unsustainably if heating prices continue to rise exponentially, and the wildlife is very sparse now, due to overhunting and chemicals in the ecosystem.
more woods would be good for them.
italy does have a very keen forest police -forestale- who do nothing but patrol looking for illegal cutting, issue permits for tree cutting -3 months to have permission to cut one tree to make a driveway.
but when you consider it took 2 years to have a landline connected, and i am less that 2k from the nearest phone, this may be proto-italian, in its glacial slowness.
i must say that the woods are healthy, and there are lots around me, providing sustainable work for families here.
you NEVER see the kind of nightmare clearcuts like some places; there are strict rules as to how many years between cutting, and how many trees must be left uncut, to minimise runoff and erosion.
i hear if you run into a tree in your car, the fine for killing the tree can be very steep, though this may be urban legend.
as fuel prices rise, i expect more will be done by hand, providing more jobs and more incentive not to damage the national patrimony....colour me optimistic on this perhaps!
maybe someone will come up with a solar panel-powered laser chainsaw, lol.
'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
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