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Opinion >  Letters

Forests must be managed

Apart from the radical lack of snowpack last winter and the lack of rain recently, (both likely symptoms of climate change), our forestlands have been mismanaged and neglected for decades.

All forested land – private, state and federal – should be intensively managed to reduce fire danger, improve timber quality and conserve our aquifers. A forest is the same as a garden; it needs to be weeded and thinned to be productive and attractive. Instead, much of it has been allowed to grow wild, with the resultant overcrowding and masses of dead and undesirable fuel just waiting for a spark.

The problem is that such fine-tuned care is costly and labor intensive with little immediate payoff. But compare those costs to the incredible losses and firefighting costs we now see all around us. Let’s be proactive and create forests that are healthier, more productive and far more fire resistant. Ideally, all dead, deformed or undesirable trees are removed.

It’s a huge task, but it would create many jobs and make our environment much safer and more beautiful. Given the clearly apparent and growing effects of climate change, it is now essential to our long-term survival in this region.

David Johnson

Elk


 

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