AMERICAN FORESTS: I just recently donated money to plant a tree for my son Carl, one of the firefighters killed on Sept. 11th. I knew nothing about this until I went into the Eddie Bauer store on a trip to Penn. I will tell all the families I know about this, but I think that maybe you should take an ad in the New York Times so many other families can do the same.
I think that this is a wonderful idea and I'm sorry I didn't know about this sooner.
ONCE AGAIN, PLEASE, IN LATIN
Editor: I just received my first issue of American Forests magazine, and I would like to suggest an improvement. Common names are so confusing and often change with the locale. I think it would be clearer and more useful to always give the botanical name of the trees mentioned. Thanks for a great magazine!
CLARIFYING BLACK WALNUT
Editor: Jeff Ball wrote a nice, well-organized story ("In Profile," Summer 2002) but, sadly, made two statements that were untrue in column 1, page 45. He states, "Initially green, the husks turn black as they mature, then break open to release the hard, ridged nut within." Actually, the husk rarely turns black while on the tree and is not segmented so it never opens to release the nut. The husk must always be removed by hand or husking machinery.
Two paragraphs later Ball states, "Black walnut production is based entirely on hand-harvested nuts from trees growing in native stands." The word "entirely" makes this untrue. In the past 50 years there have been hundreds of black walnut plantations established in the U.S. and machinery invented to assist the harvest of their crop.
SUPPORT FOR WHITEBARK PINE
Editor: I was pleased to read the fine article by Gary Lantz (Stalwart Species. Summer 2002) describing the ecological value of whitebark pine and the threats to this picturesque, high-elevation species from fire suppression and blister rust. In some areas of the northern Rocky Mountains of the United States and southern Canada, blister rust has killed from 25 to 50 percent or more of the whitebark pine, with blister rust infection rates as high as 100 percent.
As mentioned by Gary Lantz, the consequences of losing whitebark pine communities are multiple, including reduced biodiversity, lower watershed quality, and even more intense fire regimes.
Your readers should know that the Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation (WPEF), a nonprofit organization, was established to help counteract the decline of whitebark pine ecosystems and to educate the public and resource managers about the importance of this high-mountain forest tree. The authoritative book Whitebark Pine Communities: Ecology and Restoration was sponsored by the WPEF and published by Island Press in 2001. Our website (www.whitebarkfound.org) provides educational information about whitebark pine and current restoration efforts.
Diana F Tomback, Director, Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation Missoula, MT
OPINION: CONSERVATION IS EVERYONE'S BUSINESS
The wildfires of the past few years have made one thing crystal clear. We must correct our relationship with fire before it takes a run at any more neighborhoods. Neighborhoods for people and critters are burning up at an unprecedented scale.
Both President Bush and the environmental community have acknowledged the need for action. Two months ago environmentalists were accused of making the problem worse through gridlock. Today, President Bush and the timber industry are accused of "saving" the forest through irresponsible harvest.
Truth is, national forest practices have changed over the last 15 years while national forest politics have not. Politicians in Washington assume these polarized views are the only positions out there.
Truth is, rural innovators have solved these political and forest management problems by working together locally. Community-based stakeholder groups--environmentalists, the forest industry, small contractors, economic development providers, local teachers, county officials, retirees, local grocery store owners, Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management innovators, and other community members--have developed a political process that works out new solutions for old problems. It's called Community Forestry and it's the real news, and the most exciting work in the woods today.
In Montana, the Forest Service and community-based stakeholder groups have thinned more than 8,000 acres to improve wildlife habitat and reduce fire threat. They call it stewardship, and selling the small timber to sawmills has offset the costs of around $800 per acre. Smaller material has been chipped or turned into small poles.
In Trinity County, California, my organization--the Watershed Research and Training Center--works with local workers and small businesses. We have developed small, light-on-the-land equipment to remove hazardous fuels. The environmental community supports the work, asking for a quicker planning process. Trinity has also found an economical way to use the small material big mills can't process. Now fuels projects on flat ground pay for themselves; on steep ground, treatment costs around $600 per acre.
In the Grand Canyon, a local collaborative has found agreement and needs to find innovative ways to market small material. It needs help from programs like the U.S. Forest Service's Economic Action Program and the National Forest Products Lab, which have helped groups find ways to make restoration pay.
In Colorado, Carla Harper, Mike Preston and the 10-year-old Ponderosa Pine Partnership have found new ways to help restore old-growth pine habitat acrid protect the forest from fire. It also found new uses for small pines, and now every project pays for itself.
The implementation solutions are not in DC. They are in the specific places in specific forests where specific forest conditions dictate specific restoration actions. They are in places where citizens of varied interests have rediscovered democracy and rediscovered common ground. Common ground makes uncommonly good solutions.
But Washington can plan a vital role in these efforts. Policymakers there can support these uncommonly good solutions by providing technical and financial assistance to communities.
Conservation and industry cannot remain at odds. They must integrate their values and their goals. They will have to work diligently together and with others to do so. It is time to drop the outdated, divisive, and purely wrongheaded rhetoric about public forests. Good forest stewardship is a labor of love, not an act of war.
It is time to make conservation everybody's business. It is time to follow the example of community forestry.
Lynn Jungwirth, Watershed Research and Training Center. Trinity County, California
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|Date:||Sep 22, 2002|
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