SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Old Growth Trees - worthless?
By Shelley Stallings


May 06, 2009

About the only sentence in Mr. Dornblasers letter I can find any agreement with is the one which states that trees, like all living things, grow, mature, then die. After that it becomes more complicated and most of these issues have be hashed and re-hashed many times over in the media and at countless USFS public meetings.

The part where Mr. Dornblaser states "If we continue to do nothing as we are doing now under the guise of "save the forest" we will in fact leave our future generations 'nothing worth having'." is the statement I have the most problem with. If this were true, then it would seem the "Old Growth" forests which the the first settlers and loggers set eyes on were 'not worth having'. In fact old growth forests are a very valuable resource in almost every way we can measure value. This old growth forest contains a perfect mix of young, middle age, old and also dying trees. Once the old growth forest has been clear cut there is not this mix of ages of trees in the next 100 years or even 200 years. My guess (and I admit it is a guess) would be that it would take 400 to 500 years to have a forest with the mixed age trees a forest needs to be healthy after clearcutting.

We can and should harvest some of the trees in our forests. But here on most of the Tongass where commercially viable trees grow, industrial scale logging from the early 50's to the early 90's harvested too many trees in the highest value areas using methods which were not 'best practices'. Because of this we must scale down the harvest drastically to be able to sustainably make use of the forest. We used more than our fair share of this great, renewable resource and now our children and grandchildren must pay a price for our actions.

Shelley Stallings
Ketchikan, AK

About: "33 year resident of the Tongass National Forest"

Received May 05, 2008 - Published May 06, 2009


Related Viewpoint:

letterRE: Enlightment By Jim Dornblaser

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