As I took the time to observe the detail and complexity of the nature world, particularly the forest communities, it became clear we did not need more or better science. The missing link was the understanding and appreciation of the human connection and dependence we require from our natural surroundings.
Science was focused on what we humans can take from the forests not what we must do to manage our remaining forested lands so they can continue to provide for life on this unique and majestic planet.
My concerns are not unique except they are focused on the science of forestry. Others, including bio-geographers, cultural historians, anthropologists have written for years about our Western cultural value system and it's focus on the human species requirements with little if any recognition for the dependent relationships we share with the non-human species. Several authors have pointed out that our Western cultural values have long emphasized the requirements of the human mode at the expense of other-than-human modes and even at the expense of people who are different from us. All of our institutions, corporate, political, academic, and religious, within our Western culture, are influenced by this focus on the human species. Thomas Berry states that," the religious emphasis on redemption at the neglect of creation" is a clear example of the need re-orient our thinking if we are to provide a desirable future for our species.
So, for me, the concerns I have with today's forest management is the unwillingness or inability of the science to re-direct the goal of managing our remaining forested lands so as to continue to provide for the sustenance of life on this planet instead of managing the resources from the forests for human consumption. This will require a more intensive management strategy than previously used and a far deeper appreciation of the complexity of the forest mosaic. We can no longer paint the landscape with a giant brush. The scientist must become a true artist, capable of visualizing the detail of the unique forest communities that make up the forest. The by-product of this management strategy will be the renewable resources that the trees produce.
If we fail to adjust soon, it has been predicted that young people today will be faced, within the the next 50 years, with the most serious environmental issues our culture has ever had to resolve. Some have suggested, that waiting may make many of these issues unsolvable. We can not wait for the political leadership as many of them, refuse to accept the available science and see no advantage to addressing environmental issues of this magnitude. I suspect, pressure from the bottom up is the only way resolution will be initiated. YOUR HELP IS NEEDED!