Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What I think about the health of our forests...

People ask me from time to time what I think about the "beetles" ravaging our forests. They comment on how horrible it looks. Many of us have been warning about this for up to 20 years. My not so humble opinion, is that if we would have (and I didn't just start thinking or saying this) spent as much $ over the last 20-30 years "managing" our lands and forests, as fighting fires, we would not see our forests in these conditions. We always have been real good at "reacting" to events when they occur instead of planning properly. All too often our natural resources are taken for granted. Professional management of especially our forests is absolutely necessary today. As we have disrupted the natural fire regime across our country, the forests have suffered. Damaging insect activity especially, is the result of lack of fires that naturally "clean" and reinvigorate our forests.
In addition, people ask me "why can't we just go out and cut the trees down and why aren't the dead trees of some value"? Unfortunately, the market for the type of trees we have in Colorado is very poor at best. As I work with landowners, I do my best to connect them with local or regional processors that "may" have a need for the wood. Even firewood is hard to sell from the dead trees. Another big reason for the markets being so poor is the cost to get the logs out. The fuel, distance to a mill, access to the site, and overall demands are sketchy.
Management of our resources and being a good steward of the land is a concept that's not new, just an attitude.
Check out these references: FOR THE HEALTH OF THE LAND, by Aldo Leopold; TREE TALK, by Ray Raphael; WILDWOOD, by Ruth Loomis

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