Wednesday, August 19, 2015

MANAGING OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS - WORKED EXAMPLE

Question:
‘With the use of examples, evaluate the effectiveness of sustainable forest management in maintaining the earth’s “green lungs”.’

Answer:
Sustainable forest management has been effective in maintaining the earth’s “green lungs”. Methods such as controlled logging and reforestation have been able to provide sustainable solutions which allow both the use for forests as well as their protection.

[The response answers the question directly and echoes the term “effective”, making clear the candidate’s position. The candidate even listed the factors which will be used in the discussion.]

Controlled logging has been effective as it requires logging companies to extract only the species which they require and not conduct en mass clearing of spaces. This ensures that there will be sufficient vegetation volume to ensure that CO2 levels are reduced and O2 levels are maintained. Also, by rotating the plot of land deforested and allowing the area to regenerate, it ensures that the land is given sufficient time to regenerate its forest volume. For example, because of governments such as Brazil and Indonesia requiring loggers to practice selective logging, the pace and hence volume of deforestation has been significantly reduced in these areas.

Reforestation has also been effective in maintaining “green lungs” by regenerating forest volume in deforested areas. Countries such as Indonesia and Brazil have used Agro-forestry to entice logging companies to reforest deforested areas. By creating teak farms in Indonesia and cedar and mahogany farms in Brazil, the respective governments were able to regenerate significant forest volume, for example, in Brazil it was 10,000 ha. This works to ensure that there is sufficient forest volume to effect purification of air.

[The reasons offered for the effectiveness of controlled logging and reforestation are clear and the focus is not detracted. This is achieved by stating the term “effective” again at the onset of both paragraphs. Relevant examples are also provided and these examples are used to show just why controlled logging is effective. This is something that students often overlook; thinking that mere mention of the place or country would count as an example.]

However, these methods are heavily dependent on stakeholders conforming to the recommendations of the authorities and laws of the land. This therefore requires comprehensive enforcement to ensure that laws are kept. Developing countries usually have little resource to ensure that corruption does not occur in these countries. For example, in areas as vast as the Amazon and Kalimantan, enforcement is an issue as these governments have limited manpower resources to conduct effective enforcement. Also, corruption, which is rampant in Indonesia, results in logging companies exceeding their logging quotas, while the authorities turn a blind eye.

Furthermore, countries with large tracts of forests are usually developing and would need the use of the natural resource afforded for by the forest and the land on which it stands to fuel its development. As such, there is little motivation for them to police illegal logging in the first place. The net result of these is that vegetation volume is reduced and hence there is insufficient vegetation volume to effectively purify their air.

[The counter argument mentions little with regard to green lungs but instead chooses to challenge the viability of the methods mentioned before. This works here because the argument hinges on the methods being viable. The examples also work with the argument and show the methods to be inherently flawed.]

Even though enforcement is a challenge for countries, Agro-forestry builds into itself an innate motivation for companies to engage in reforestation efforts. By turning deforested tracts of land into farmed forests, companies can look forward to a more stable supply of timber for their enterprises. This gives them even greater impetus to ensure that vegetation volume is maintained. As such, sustainable forest management has been effective.

[The weighing paragraph here puts in place counter-measures to combat the limitations outlined in the section on arguments against. This is what candidates should do here, argue with factors raised earlier and not bring in new information not mentioned, in the hope of gaining more credit. Open-ended questions do not award marks based on the amount of content presented. Rather, it is the quality and comprehensiveness of argument that counts.]

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