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Forests need restoration

If a river is polluted, should you just leave it alone and let it restore itself? This is a question for all those who say there should be no collaboration between environmental groups and loggers, and that national forests should be left alone.

Fact is, these forests have been logged for a very long time, resulting in badly damaged forests — old clear-cuts choked with one or two species of short-lived trees, stumps, and old roads everywhere, some right next to streams. Just as polluted rivers need restoration, so do damaged forests. The zero-logging tactic has been tried unsuccessfully by environmental groups since the 1980s. It has always resulted in endless court battles with nothing to show for it.

The Lands Council’s collaborative approach is different. They have built a culture of trust and problem-solving among former adversaries. Because of these efforts, old growth in the Inland Northwest public forests is no longer being logged and roadless areas are no longer threatened. Environmental groups who are still using the tactics of the ‘80s and ‘90s cannot say the same thing — they are still battling old-growth sales and roadless entry. Maybe they should try The Lands Council’s model, which actually gets results.

Joel N. Childers


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