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Unbiased views needed to assess forest management

Reporter Chris Larabee’s recent article, “Foresters, conservationists oppose Healey logging moratorium,” (Hampshire Gazette, Jan. 27) quotes state and local experts who believe that “Harvesting timber from forests, for both environmental and commercial purposes, is a vital forest management tactic promoting biodiversity, forest regeneration and carbon sequestration.”


Sadly, too many of the “experts” quoted in the article have financial interests in logging and represent or are allied with the forest products industry. This includes some well-known “conservation groups” who unfortunately depend on funding from the industry as well as timber sales of their own land to finance their organizations.


The article refers to the Massachusetts Forest Alliance as a “forest advocacy group” when it’s more accurate to call it a forest “products” advocacy group. Climate scientists and forest ecologists without a financial interest in logging disagree that forest management is needed.


Dr. William Moomaw, a world-renowned forest and climate scientist, and contributor to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change contends that “intact forests — largely free from human intervention … are the most carbon-dense and biodiverse terrestrial ecosystems.”


The “science” used by many so-called experts is out-dated and justifies the continuation of a dogmatic, extractive model which advocates human dominance over nature. The reality is that forests have evolved over millennia with no humans around to tidy them up.


Logging does not mean a couple of men with cross-cut saws. It means feller bunchers and massive trucks upending ecosystems from the microbial level on up, including fragile forest soils, themselves huge carbon repositories.


Of course, we need forest products. But should they come from our public forests? With only 2% of Massachusetts forests permanently protected it makes total sense to set aside public forests as “forever wild” reserves to help mitigate global heating, flooding, protect biodiversity, and provide people with recreational opportunities and the serenity that only undisturbed forest lands can provide.


The definition of moratorium is “a temporary prohibition of an activity.” That’s exactly what is needed to assess Massachusetts’ current forest management programs using the latest scientific research by unbiased scientists.


Carole Horowitz

Northampton

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