deck (or timber market) back to the stump where they were originally felled.
Although efficient in producing common products such as boards, beams,
and posts, mills in Suriname are ill-equipped to process more niche forest
products or to take on exceptionally large diameter trees. Smaller logs are
also underutilized; excess hardwood logs under 12 inches diameter (narrow
end) are often discarded in piles, burned, or buried on the premises as there
are no trim mills, pulp mills, or any other special processors available.
According to SBB, over 90 marketable wood species grow in Suriname forests, and one can easily inventory well over 100 different hardwood species
on a given 1-hectare plot. However, conventional harvesting focuses on a
limited number of species. In fact, just five tree species – gronfolo (Qualea
rosea), basralocus (Dicorynia guianensis), kopi (Goupia glabra), bruinhart
(Vouacapoua americana), and purperhart (Peltogyne paniculata) – compose
50 percent of the total harvested volume in the country. As a consequence,
these select species are over-harvested, leading to an undesirable forest
composition. Moreover, the number of timber concessions is increasing and
penetrating farther into the forest to find these high-value species. Over time,
this may lead to a decline in forest resiliency and a loss of biodiversity. From an
economic perspective, timber markets could become unbalanced, resulting
in a lack of supply and significant increases in price for preferred logs.
To counter this over-exploitation, forestry based organizations such as the
European Timber Trade Federation, Probos, and Tropenbos International are
trying to develop markets for lesser known timber species. Wood scientists
are working to determine the structural integrity, optimum drying conditions,
and overall potential for new wood products from forest tree species
that, until now, have not been considered valuable as commercial timber.
Examples of “B list” species that have desirable characteristics but are
under-utilized include Kimboto (Pradosia ptychandra), Kaw-Udu (Bagassa
guianensis), and Pikin-misiki (Newtonia suaveolens).
Suriname is currently in economic turmoil, but is nonetheless moving forward with a number of environmental initiatives. In 2015, coastal restorations
to mitigate shoreline erosion near the capital city of Paramaribo were started.
Specialists at Suriname’s Anton de Kom University, in cooperation with
Conservation International, are employing the use of “soft” technology – most
notably the construction of permeable dams – to decrease wave velocity,
trap sediment, and rehabilitate the mangrove ecosystem. These dams mimic
the natural processes of mangrove root structure, thereby reducing erosion
and encouraging the deposition of sediment. So far, these dams are
successfully building additional coastline and are proving to be conducive
to mangrove colonization. Continued construction of these “sediment traps”
may prove to be a viable and sustainable solution to coastline erosion and
may be useful in coastal management for the neighboring Guianas.
In addition to shoreline protection, approximately 7. 2 million hectares
of pristine tropical rainforest has been established as a community-owned
conservation area known as the South Suriname Conservation Corridor,
which will be managed by the indigenous communities that depend on the
overall health and wellbeing of the forest and water reserves. The protection
of such a massive area of land is an impressive accomplishment, and it
connects to preserves in Brazil and French Guiana, forming the largest
network of protected tropical rainforest in the world.
Suriname continues to set the bar high for the conservation of wild things;
the establishment of a specialized timber products market that utilizes
unorthodox forest species would be a welcome change and an important
next step in continuing this mission.
[ ECOLOGICAL ETYMOLOGIST ]
Dear E.E. There are so many different words for “river”
(stream, creek, brook). Use a thesaurus and the list goes
on and on (rindle, runnel, beck, freshet, rill). Are these just
different words from different cultures that mean the same
thing, or are there subtle differences between each word?
This is an interesting question because the dictionaries and
experts I consulted agree that there isn’t much difference at
all. A river is generally larger; a stream, smaller; and all of the
others are simply synonyms for stream. But why would we
have so many words for the same thing?
Beck gives us a clue. Though most dictionaries define a
beck as simply a stream, dictionary.com is more precise, telling us it is “a swiftly running stream with steep banks.” It also
tells us the word is used primarily in northern England. And
that seems to be the key to why we have so many apparently
interchangeable words for moving water: we think of them
as synonyms, but historically the British had more specific
meanings for each.
River usually describes a large body of moving water. The
word comes to us from Latin, and Latin words were used
by the educated elite to name big, important things. Stream
comes from the Saxon language, and Anglo-Saxon words
were commonly used in reference to smaller, more ordinary
Creek was once specifically a narrow inlet in a coastline, and
over time it came to apply to narrow inlets to other bodies of
water, as well. Creek is also related to crook, as in something
twisted or bent, and in some parts of the country crooked waterways are more likely to be called creeks than streams. The rural
pronunciation crick is the Swedish variant of the same word.
Rindle, runnel, and rill are all words implying still-smaller
streams. Each is a diminutive of run, though, which once
meant not a stream but a transitory waterway created by
heavy rain or snowmelt. In the Rocky Mountains, these are
called washes, arroyos in the Southwest. Overflow in an
existing stream or river would be called a spate. If the stream
were overflowing specifically with melted snow and ice, the
phenomenon would be called a freshet, though originally a
freshet was a stream of fresh water running into an ocean.
A brook was a slower-moving stream. Sometimes really
slow – in some parts of England and the Netherlands a brook
(or broek) is a marsh. In its verb form, brook means to endure
or tolerate. You might have heard it in reference to old schoolmarms who brook no disrespect.
So it’s a complicated situation. You could
go with the flow and let these details wash
over you – or you could brook no misnomers
and use a spate of livelier