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Know the West

Forests on the edge

  Dear HCN,

In the William deBuys essay about controversy surrounding northern New Mexico's forests, he says "We need to create more small forest edges in order to promote species diversity" (HCN, 2/5/96). I am no expert on this matter, but it caught my eye because of research that's been done in Eastern forests. It shows that creation of edges and the disappearance of contiguous forest harms migratory songbird populations. I realize this research on Eastern forests and birds is not research on Western forests and birds, but the casual suggestion that we need to create "edge" in the forest makes me uneasy.

Too many times we have solved one problem in our ecosystem by creating another.

Michael Cain

Sedona, Arizona