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Tree farm

A tree farm is a forest of usually fast-growing trees planted by humans in order to either replace already-logged forests or to substitute for their absence. Tree farms differ from wild forests in several ways:
  1. Tree farms are usually monocultures. That is, the same species of tree is planted in rows across a given area, whereas a conventional forest would contain a far more diverse number of tree species.
  2. Tree farms contain non-conventional varieties of trees. Since the primary interest in tree farming is producing lumber or pulp, the types of trees found in tree farms are those that are best-suited to industrial application (for example, cedar trees are popular because they grow extremely quickly and are good for furniture and lumber).
  3. Tree farms are always young forests. Typically trees grown in farms are harvested after ten to fifteen years. This means that the forests produced by tree farms do not contain the type of growth, soil or wildlife typical of old-growth forests.

Tree farms are planted by the paper and lumber industries (for example pine plantations), and in the Kyoto Protocol there are proposals encouraging the planting of tree farms to reduce carbon dioxide levels (although this idea is being challenged as scientifically unsound).

Critics charge that due to the vastly different nature of the ecosystem that develops around tree farms, they are not a fitting substitute for old-growth forests, and the replacement of old-growth trees by tree farms will result in the loss of biodiversity.

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