‘Forest Conversation’ wasn’t | TheUnion.com

‘Forest Conversation’ wasn’t

The two-year effort to bring together speakers to discuss forest management in a public forum, termed a “Forest Conversation” became little more than an platform for timber industry cronies who were allowed to present their highly misleading views to a largely naive audience.

With the exception of plant ecologist Michael Barbour and JoAnn Fites-Kaufman, fire ecology and old growth specialist with the Forest Service, few of the speakers followed instructions to offer information while keeping their value-laden opinions to themselves.

The symposium turned out to be a well-structured attack on the new Forest Service Plan, the Sierra Nevada Framework, an ecologically-based, landmark decision by the federal agency which has long been accused of being in the pocket of the timber industry. Nowhere in the discussions was there a recognized conservation biologist to talk about the positive contributions to conservation from the new Framework Plan.

While chanting the mantra of the Society of American Foresters and SPI, we heard several speakers suggest we must remain enslaved by, and unquestioning of, their sacred law of supply and demand for wood. We should feel extreme guilt for wanting to protect our Sierran forests and its diverse wildlife from the chain saws and bulldozers of greed. The American conservation movement is intent on working with local peoples, worldwide, to protect forests from unsustainable resource extraction. For Libby, Bonnickson and others to suggest we need to destroy our old growth forests and wildlife so we don’t place that impact on other nations is a narrow-minded and intellectually limited argument from industry apologists who fail to understand long-term sustainability of forest ecosystems as a primary value in all cultures, worldwide.

Should we not be calling into question the ethics of our own energy-wasting, resource-depleting, pollution-spewing cultural patterns rather than blindly accepting the “there is a demand and we must fill it” rhetoric of those benefiting from unsustainable resource extraction.

Craig Thomas, director

The Sierra Nevada Forest

Protection Campaign


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