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Know the West

Logging is an excuse, not a management tool

  I don’t know where HCN editor Paul Larmer lives, but his statement about the U.S. Forest Service that, "Instead of being the primary driver of all management activities, logging has evolved into just another tool — like fire and erosion control — to be employed in maintaining healthy forests" sounds as if the Forest Service public relations office wrote it (HCN, 5/16/05: The wisdom of the ground troops).

It certainly is obvious to me, during my review of countless federal logging proposals in Texas, gussied up as projects to save the federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, that the Forest Service has simply found another excuse to hide its logging behind. At least in Texas, and I suspect in most of the rest of the nation, logging is still the "King Hammer" that the Forest Service uses for every conceivable purpose. I am tired of seeing beautiful rolling landscapes logged and turned from a diverse mixture of pines and hardwoods to evenly spaced, "open, park-like" pine monocultures, burned every two to five years, no matter what the Forest Service’s own ecological research says.

How long will it take High Country News to catch on that the Forest Service dog cannot be taught new tricks? That dog does hunt (log) and trees are what it is pointing at.

Brandt Mannchen, Forestry Chair
Houston Sierra Club
Houston, Texas