John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Saturday, October 29, 2005
  Peak Wood
This is an interesting article about problems with deforestation in the past.

This extract is particularly pertinent:
The timber crisis of the late Bronze Age was obviously not the extinction of all trees in the world. It didn't need to be, just as we don't need to run out of oil to face a similar fuel crisis. There was still lumber to be felled; but as Bronze Age kingdoms deforested their surrounding ecosystem, the nearest forest became farther and father away. Loggers had to travel farther to reach the forest, and once the trees were felled, they needed to be transported longer and longer distances back home. The energy invested was constantly increasing, but the energy returned remained the same. The ERoEI plummeted, and Bronze Age civilization collapsed into a dark age for several centuries.

ERoEI is Energy Returned on Energy Invested. Economists are obsessed with money when energy is far more important.
 
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