Renewable trees are solid sunlight |

Renewable trees are solid sunlight

Like many locals, I attended the “Conversation on the Forest” event, and after reading some heated responses in The Union, am convinced anew that our one world contains many separate universes. Did I attend the same event? Not one of the “industry cronies” was suggesting the immediate hammering of old-growth trees. They did promote harvesting the thinnings from the relentlessly overcrowded, fire prone, unpreservable forests of today. Tom Bonnickson did suggest that, eventually, a return to the desired (by everyone) more natural fire ecosystem must include, in time, the cutting of larger trees to create openings for new growth. Such blasphemy. It’s a bullet the more strident so-called environmentalists are loathe to bite. Logging is always bad.

The hot button labels we love to use are mostly wrong and contribute to conflict. For example, since everyone voluntarily uses wood every day, then implicitly we are all part of the timber industry. Try expanding your mind and stop thinking it’s about us and them. It’s all us. I know a group of professional nature-lovers working every day insuring sustainable forest growth with minimal long-term adverse impacts to watersheds. They deserve more than most to be labeled environmentalists. Instead, we call them foresters. Oh yeah, they also harvest trees. Blasphemy. Logging bad. (But lumber good.)

Conversely, so-called environmentalists should be labeled Utopians. It’s shorter, friendlier, and more accurately hints of quasi-religious undertones. Alas, Utopians are doomed to grief; it’s an imperfect world, always has been. But they seem to enjoy plotting battle strategies and jousting with windmills (and sawmills). God bless ’em, they mean well. Sometimes even have valid points. I’m part Utopian myself: I’ve a firm belief that ever improving timber industry practices and forest health are compatible. I’ve seen it. The most hideous land rape monoculture tree farm plantation gestates into a vibrant multi-species forest. The ancient magic ingredients of death, decay, time, air, flame, soil, seed, storm and sun inexorably wring ruin into splendor. Lighten up Utopians. Use wood without guilt. It’s sunlight made solid. Grow more trees. Be happy.

David Coyle


Sierra Reforestation

North San Juan

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