Managed forests best for man — and tree

Print Article

Today we welcome you to two sides of a contentious issue: how to achieve healthy western forests.

On Page A5 you’ll find a commentary by Brett Haverstick, an environmentalist whose research and opinions differ significantly from ours. Brett suspects politicians and logging interests have mustered a dense smokescreen between you and the truth about proper forest management. Respectfully, we don’t see that at all.

Over many years throughout the West, we’ve spoken with feet-on-the-forest-floor people whose credentials are outstanding. Yes, some of them are professional loggers and other members of that industry, but most have been Forest Service employees and managers. These are people we consider experts; men and women whose job is to keep our forests healthy while preserving access for humans to enjoy them and a balance to be struck between industry interests and nature lovers (who often are one and the same). In more recent years, their jobs have increasingly included managing the many areas where humans and trees come together — where they interface. Creating buffers between people and the trees beside or around them can literally mean the difference between human life and death, as well as the loss of valuable property.

But as we read Mr. Haverstick’s opinion piece, we thought most of all of Dr. Wally Covington. The longtime Northern Arizona University professor is considered one of our nation’s foremost forestry experts, and a man without an agenda except applying science when addressing the future of our western forests.

After earning his doctoral degree from Yale and conducting more than four decades of research, Dr. Covington has concluded that western U.S. forests require the kind of management that Mr. Haverstick resists. According to a university article dated Nov. 20, 2015, Dr. Covington learned best how to address today’s problems by scientifically examining the past, when our forests were thriving.

“More than 100 years ago forests of the Southwest were open and park-like, dominated by groups of large, towering ponderosa pines and filled with a diversity of grasses and wildflowers,” the article states. “Today, they are dense and dark, overcrowded with dog-hair thickets of small-diameter trees. They are plagued by wildfires and a lack of plant and animal diversity.”

Dr. Covington’s prescription for healing forests, or, in his words, “to solve complex problems and implement research aimed at restoring the self-regulatory mechanisms of the ecosystem,” is a comprehensive approach that includes thinning younger trees while using prescribed burns and protecting old-growth trees. Dr. Covington’s research has led to millions of acres being managed in a way that bodes well for their future — and ours.

Managed forests offer the best chance for their long-term survival while avoiding the catastrophic, multi-billion dollar blazes that singe taxpayers, threaten human life and property, and heave countless tons of particulates into the atmosphere, adding density to the greenhouse effect, which pushes the planet’s temperatures higher. Sensible management helps our forests flourish.

Print Article

Read More Editorial

We can fret and complain, or we can …

February 21, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press There’s so much wrong in the world, sometimes we just need to take a deep breath, exhale, and focus on matters we can influence, if not control. Are you going to change people’s mind about abortion ...

Comments

Read More

After the party, then what?

February 18, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Junior is graduating preschool. Party! Missy is graduating kindergarten. Party! Ralphy is graduating fifth grade. Party! Cody is graduating middle school. Party! Caprice is graduating high sc...

Comments

Read More

It’s elementary: Cd’A schools solve problem

February 16, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press A., break a campaign promise or B., fail to uphold your fiduciary responsibilities. For Coeur d’Alene School District officials, it was going to be one or the other in deciding where to build a new ...

Comments

Read More

Awakened by the ‘e’ word’s warning

February 14, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Innocent until proven guilty. Let’s say that again: Innocent until proven guilty. For the record, the executive director of a local nonprofit that uses taxpayer funds, North Idaho Housing Coalition...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2018 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X