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Briefcase: The Uniqueness Of Forests As A Natural Resource

Guest: Blake Hudson


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Forests provide both ecological and commercial benefits. Blake Hudson, with The University of Houston Law Center is an environmental law scholar and explains how forests are unique as compared to other natural resources.

"Coal and oil are nonrenewable," Professor Hudson said. "Wildlife and fisheries are renewable and are important ecologically, but have fewer economic uses. In contrast, forest products can be used to make paper, construction materials, and generate energy. They also regulate climate by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and they protect air, water and wildlife habitat."

Also, Hudson claims economic markets encourage reforestation. "A majority of U.S. forests are privately owned," he said. "These markets provide economic incentives for reforestation. Technology now allows construction of high-rise buildings from lumber instead of steel and concrete, and wood can displace fossil fuels in electricity generation. So these markets provide both economic and environmental benefits."

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