Nathan Coes letter (Forestry shouldnt be an industry, Herald, Feb. 13) mixed with the story about the pine beetle (Herald, Feb. 17), made me ponder just how unhealthy our forests in America are.
Coe needs to study what clear cutting is because there is no clear cutting going on locally. He also believes that logging should not be an industry. I thought President Clinton killed the logging industry.
In the Northwest, after Clintons policies were implemented, there were rampant increases in drug and alcohol use, teen pregnancies, suicides, crime, foreclosures, unemployment, bankruptcies and more. Thats just the sociological side of things. We still have increased wood prices, fewer exports, higher housing costs and so on.
Decades of suppressing fires and decreased logging practices has increased the number of trees in our forests nationwide. This growth has been at the expense of larger trees, which are less resilient to drought and other stresses than smaller, younger trees, resulting in a decline in the total amount of carbon stored in these forests.
Between the 1930s and the 1990s, thickening forests experienced such a drop in biomass that they now store one-third less carbon than they used to.
Here are a few advantages of opening up stands of timber with selective cutting and proper logging. It would provide large increases in plant biomass, biodiversity and habitat diversity for wildlife. Increased tree vigor can reduce susceptibility to insect attack as well as reduce competition for water and soil nutrients. It also creates new germination sites and canopy openings that increase light, water, nutrients and soil temperatures. Lastly, it promotes healthy forest fires when they occur.
Organizations such as the Sierra Club have spread fear and propaganda throughout the public that cutting a tree down is evil and destroys the world. We can only hope they will study and learn from the cold hard truth that proper forest management does involve cutting down trees. They grow back.
The U.S. Forest Service also needs to quit blocking off more of our forests thinking they own them because they dont. We, the taxpayers, do.
Dug Ward, Durango