The practice of logging large swaths of land for timber. Typically thought of in a bad light, clear cutting is often the most ecologially friendly way to log a forest. The main alternative to clear cutting, selection harvesting, consists of selected trees being logged from a fully grown area. While that results in a cut that is prettier, beauty is only skin deep. After a selection harvest, no light reaches the forest floor and the growth of new trees is inhibited, whereas in a clear cut, new trees can grow to replace those that were logged in time, resulting in a healthier forest in the long run. But try telling that to someone who professes to care for nature. It's ugly, so they don't like it, in a real life case of being unable to see the forest for the trees.

Clear-cutting refers to the practice, when logging, of cutting down all the trees in a particular area. Clear-cutting contributes to deforestation, leaving a jagged scar on the surface of the earth which, if the area is large enough, can be visible from space. In British Columbia, and no doubt other regions as well, clear-cut swaths are sometimes hidden from public view by leaving a strip of natural forest along the side of the road where tourists can see it.

Tree-planters know that what looks like a flat wasteland is actually a tangled mess of tree trunks, dirt, and rocks, and scrambling across it to plant more saplings is an exhausting business. Rather than clear-cutting, many environmentally concerned foresters practice selective logging, removing only the economically valuable species. This leave the rest of the plant life intact, though not of course untouched, and thus can have much less of an impact on animal life in the area.

Clear"-cut` (?), a.

1.

Having a sharp, distinct outline, like that of a cameo.

She has . . . a cold and clear-cut face. Tennyson.

2.

Concisely and distinctly expressed.

 

© Webster 1913.

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