Our forests need active management | TheUnion.com

Our forests need active management

I would like to thank the people who organized and participated in the recent presentation of “A Conversation About the Forest.” With the emotional debate over forest management continuously raging, it was great to hear experts present the latest forest science research. The consensus was that prior to the Gold Rush, Sierra Nevada forests were more open, ecologically diverse and resistant to fire than are today’s neglected, overcrowded, debris-choked, multi-layered forests.

Recently government agencies have been trying to reduce fuels on a small portion of the forest using prescribed burning. Due to decades of fuel buildup prescribed burning, as well as wildfires, have been killing old growth trees and forests, destroying habitat. The researchers are recommending that if we want ecologically sustainable forests, we need to take an active role in management by thinning, mechanical fuel reduction and salvage logging and not rely only on prescribed burning. We should not be afraid of harvesting trees to save the forest from destruction by burning.

We must “think globally and act locally” and take responsibility for our increasing consumption of renewable resources, by managing and harvesting sustainably in our own productive, resilient forests, instead of importing forest products from poorly regulated, third-world countries with highly complex and fragile ecosystems.

The forum was fair in that the organizers (SYRCL, USFS, YWI, SPI) jointly selected the speakers and the public was allowed to ask questions. Some local environmentalists, though, were disrespectful and arrogant toward the invited speakers. Their comments clearly demonstrated the extremist bias of the environmental industry. They continued to ignore sound science, even when it was right in front of their faces and they consistently took bits of information out of context while aggressively harassing the speakers at the podium. The speakers, however, were undaunted, because they are confident that years of research and experience by many professionals studying and working in the forest is pointing in the same direction. Only active management, including carefully directed timber harvesting, can restore our forests to a healthy and sustainable condition that existed over 100 years ago.

Dario Davidson

Grass Valley

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