Got it bass-ackwards, again. The only real question is whether logging can tolerate conservation and whether there is a role for conservation at all.
Is there a role for logging in ensuring the future of the world’s tropical forests and their rich diversity of plants and animals? For many this idea is absurd, because timber production achieving conservation goals have long been viewed as incompatible opposites. “Loggers” were tarred as planet plunderers, “greenies” were branded ignorant idealists, while researchers found themselves caught between warring factions with little interest in data from outside their own views and experiences. Sadly, this myopic and highly polarised view of preservation versus production rarely helps save vulnerable landscapes. Fortunately these views are changing.
Finding outcomes that offer real improvements for conservation gains depend on recognising some myths and acknowledging the dynamic nature of forests. Many people, especially in Australia, generally imagine all “logging” as broad-scale clear-felling. However, timber harvesting takes many forms, and large-scale clear-felling is at one end of a broad spectrum. In well-managed forests, foresters seek to harvest in an ecologically-appropriate way. Generally, clear-felling is appropriate only in forests that are naturally adapted to major disturbances (such as Australia’s wildfires). At the other end of the harvesting spectrum, single-tree selection is appropriate in forests that evolved with small-scale disturbance (such as many species-rich where most trees die standing and finally collapse from decay), and where seedlings tolerate heavy shade.