DO WE NEED NATIONAL FORESTS AND HOW EFFECTIVE IS COLLABORATION TO RESOLVE LEGAL ACTIONS?
Recently there has been discussions on these two issues in the forest science field. Some States are requesting that public forest lands managed by the Department of Agriculture, Forest Service and Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, be transferred to State control. With the reduction in federal income taxes, many States have lost the federal grant moneys that use to help finance education and transportation maintenance and construction. The lose of these federal grant moneys has created some very difficult economic problems for several States and required them to implement some very creative ways to meet their financial obligations. A few States have actually sold some of their infrastructure to foreign countries to create capital. Even inter-state tollways have been sold. One State changed their trailer licensing process from yearly charges to a permanent one owner license at a much higher cost. This process results in an immediate influx of capital however, after about ten years the annual income will shrink to less then the original system. This same scenario holds true when one sells off public infrastructure as well. Transferring National Forest System lands to smaller government entities could easily result in very devastating impacts on our valuable remaining public forested lands. Currently our National Forest System lands are protected from sale by Congressional Law. Is it logical to give up this protection for short term profit? We have already lost over half of the forest acreage that once covered our planet and our world population now exceeds seven billion people. We are now told that out of the 5 most serious environmental issues we face, population expansion is number one and deforestation is number three! I simply can not emphasize strong enough, WHAT WE DO TO OUR FORESTS WE DO TO OURSELVES! Our species can not survive without trees! We must protect the remaining acres of forest cover and develop a more effective way of managing these valuable forests. Management must shift from the resources we can take from the forests to the health and diversity of the individual forest communities, or ecosystems if you prefer.
June 09th, 2015
What a great week of relaxation in the back country of Canada. Fantastic fishing and no phones or TV. Even had the rare privilege of seeing a large timber wolf on our way out this past Sunday. Brought back memories of working on the wolf project in northern Minnesota during 1969 and 1970. Spent many hours talking with the owners, John and Shannon, about John's experiences growing up in a family where the father was a professional trapper and the family's survival depended upon being able to understand the detail and complexity of their surroundings. Being able to see and recognize the many relationships that exist within the forest communities is the only way one can begin to understand the behavior, habits and travel patterns of the variety of creatures that occupy these communities. It is a skill developed only by empirical observation, the same way our American Indians did. This wisdom, coupled with the scientific knowledge of forest land management, is the only salvation available to us to maintain or hopefully improve the valuable contribution our remaining forests provide to the human environment.
About a week ago I had an interesting discussion with Alexander Watson, CEO of Open Forests, an International consulting firm out of Bonn, Germany. I met Alexander over the internet and was pleased to learn of his work and interest in some of my concepts of forest management. The company has been doing a lot of work in Central America and South America where deforestation is advancing much to rapidly. Money from the large timber companies has been enticing the indigenous people to sell large acreage of forested lands and then clear more forest lands for agricultural purposes.
Our world population is increasing at more than 75 million every year,and so to expect a reduction in demands placed on our remaining forested lands is, obviously unrealistic. We may be able to slow deforestation slightly, but as the population grows, the demand for land and food will require a continuation of an unacceptable rate of deforestation world wide. There is but one option left, intense management of our remaining forested lands with the focus on the maintenance and improvement of forest health and diversity! We must manage these communities to a state where they are able to contribute, more than they have contributed in the past, to the human environment. Everyone of us must pull together to initiate the required changes for the future. These adjustments cannot wait for tomorrow!!