A Response to DCR's Claims About Logging by Lisa Hoag
Updated: May 21
DCR’s assertion that years of building higher, denser stands creates “unhealthy” forests is false. Accurate science has demonstrated important facts that citizens need to be aware of to immediately protect our forests:
1. Micheal Kellett, Executive Director of Restore the North Woods has pointed out: "Emerging science shows older trees sequester carbon at a higher rate than younger trees and the rate increases as the trees grow older. The simplest and cheapest way to get the biggest forest carbon benefit would be to dramatically reduce logging of federal, state, and municipal forests." He provides the following information:
According to Mark Anderson, Director of Conservation Science for The Nature Conservancy’s Eastern U.S. Region: “Recently published, peer-reviewed science has established that..trees accumulate carbon over their entire lifespan and that old, wild forests accumulate accumulate far more carbon than they lose…thus acting as carbon sinks. This is especially true when taking into account the role of undisturbed soils only found in unmanaged forests.”[from Anderson, Mark G. 2019. Wild Carbon: A synthesis of recent findings. Northeast Wilderness Trust. Montpelier, VT USA. http://www.newildernesstrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/WildWorks_V1_WildCarbon-2.pdf]
William Moomaw, lead author on five reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has stated that, “[T]he most effective thing that we can do [to slow global warming] is to allow trees that are already planted, that are already growing, to continue growing to reach their ecological potential, to store carbon, and develop a forest that has its full complement of environmental services.” [William Moomaw quoted in Montaigne, Fen. 2019. Why Keeping Mature Forests Intact Is Key to the Climate Fight. Yale Environment 360. https://e360.yale.edu/features/why-keeping-mature-forests-intact-is-key-to-the-climate-fight]
2. Logging/thinning impoverishes the forest ecosystem. Many wildlife species rely on dead trees for food, home and shelter.
3. Dead trees store carbon and nutrients that can be used for a variety of wildlife. Natural ecological processes like wildfire, bark beetles and many species are essential for healthy forest ecosystems. Logging is destructive of wildlife and the web of life.
4. Thinning of forests creates a need for an extensive road network that degrades water quality, releases soil carbon, and causes erosion and chronic sediment loads.
5. In Massachusetts, all of our state forests belong to its citizens. We, the people, are sovereign, not subjects. We are responsible to take part in the protections and benefits of the forest. The DCR works for us and needs to consult with the public. We need to direct DCR to stop cutting healthy trees.
6. The older trees sequester the most carbon and have been found to nurture and promote protections of soil, young trees and nutrition of forests so that they may flourish and remain healthy.
7. More than half of the state of Massachusetts is covered by forest. While privately owned forests are owned and controlled by private citizens and groups, we need to protect the 20% of Mass. forests that constitute our own state land.
8. The Department of Conservation (DCR) works for the citizens of the state. DCR needs to consult with the people of the state before engaging in destructive practices.
9. In Massachusetts, there are no state laws prohibiting destruction of the numerous indigenous stone structures present in our state forests. We need to preserve these sacred sites and doing so will also protect our forests.
10. Letting forests grow and maintain themselves naturally provides healthier soils and more sustainable forests. Older trees send information out through the soils to other trees, especially to younger trees to protect them from pests, diseases and harsh weather conditions. Logging/thinning impoverishes the forest ecosystem and interferes with its nutrition and communication networks.
11. Although many of us value our public forests way beyond any dollar value, a post from Michigan State University’s Update Forestry, quotes Professor T.M. Das of the University of Calcutta, on facebook page titled, Alt National Park Service. The professor has quantified the dollar value of a tree. Professor Das has calculated the worth of a 50-year-old tree as $31,250 worth of oxygen. $62,500 worth of pollution control, soil erosion control, increases soil fertility valued at $31,250, recycles water worth $37,500 and provides homes for animals worth $31,500.
Species are being wiped out at a terrifying rate. Ending the crisis requires swift global action. To reverse the rapid loss of species around the globe, world governments should protect nearly one-third of all lands and oceans and slash major sources of pollution by the end of the decade, according to a new United Nations proposal.
The draft plan, released recently by the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, outlines a path for combating the biodiversity crisis that many scientists say is the start of Earth’s sixth mass extinction. The 2030 goals include safeguarding 30% of all land and sea, with at least 10% put under “strict protection”; combating the spread and introduction of invasive species; and cutting nutrient and plastic pollution by at least 50%.
13. Rivers in the Sky: How Deforestation Is Affecting Global Water Cycles By Fred Pearce: A study conducted In Norway, by Michael Wolosin of the U.S. think tank Forest Climate Analytics and Nancy Harris of the World Resources Institute concluded that “tropical forest loss is having a larger impact on the climate than has been commonly understood.”
They warned that large-scale deforestation in any of the three major tropical forest zones of the world – Africa’s Congo basin, southeast Asia, and especially the Amazon – could disrupt the water cycle sufficiently to “pose a substantial risk to agriculture in key breadbaskets halfway round the world in parts of the U.S., India, and China.” Every tree in the forest is a fountain, sucking water out of the ground through its roots and releasing water vapor into the atmosphere through pores in its foliage. In their billions, they create giant rivers of water in the air – rivers that form clouds and create rainfall hundreds or even thousands of miles away. The article states that “as we shave the planet of trees, we risk drying up these aerial rivers and the lands that depend on them for rain. A growing body of research suggests it could dry up the Nile, hobble the Asian monsoon, and desiccate fields from Argentina to the Midwestern United States.”
14. Logging jobs have been lost over many years, due to automation. Automation has hastened and intensified the damage to forests with its use of heavy vehicles and cutting equipment.
15. Nobody wants to take jobs away from people when we stop logging our state forests. There will always be loggers needed on private land and near roads to remove hazards. We can fund retraining in environmentally and climate friendly trades to help people who are currently working for extractive industries that would like to gain new knowledge and more helpful careers.
16. https://www.restore.org/take-action sign the petition for a moratorium to stop logging our state forests.