Ron Ramsey: An open letter to Doug LaMalfa
Mr. LaMalfa, I received nine duplicate emails from your office regarding forest management. Why would you spam your constituents?
In reply to your email, I agree that forest management is important. In speaking with loggers regarding the dead tree situation, what I’m being told is that there is not a market for the vast quantities of dead timber.
Removal of the dead material is important but relaxing environmental laws is not the answer. Loggers love large trees. The current practices of exclusively logging large live trees that are resistant to fire while leaving brush and slash, that is highly flammable, only makes the problem worse. By only taking out the larger trees it opens the forest canopy to more sunlight thereby encouraging more rapid growth of highly flammable fuels.
A more sustainable approach would be to do selective logging, leaving some of the larger trees to block out the sun to the brush. The forests have also been replanted with single species. This has created a hazard due to all trees being the same size allowing for more rapid fire spread and the trees are more susceptible to disease.
The low price of timber means it is economically infeasible for the logging companies to do the cleanup and selective logging required to make the forests sustainable and fire safe. If you are truly serious about preventing catastrophic wildfires, you would propose subsidies such as you have received for your rice crops and the president has provided for farmers hurt by tariffs.
These subsidies could help logging companies recoup the costs of restoring the forests. Environmental extremists not withstanding, the majority of environmentalists I have spoken with would agree.
Ron Ramsey lives in Grass Valley.
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