Forest Fireproofing Project A Charade

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The logging industry and western senators like Arizona's Jon Kyl are counting on the forest "fireproofing" scheme of Wallace Covington of Northern Arizona University's School of Forestry. NAU's Web page lists Covington, along with 27 other forestry school profs, and puts the disarming words "forest ecology" after his name.

Covington's test plots northwest of Flagstaff, and at Mt. Trumbull on the remote Arizona strip, leave no question this is a logging industry charade. At Trumbull, he logged off 16- to 30-inch diameter ancient forest giants, as well as almost all the small trees. Near Flagstaff he took 80 percent of trees between five and 16 inches, and every tree five inches or less. Since there were few trees over 16 inches, because Flagstaff and much of Arizona have been repeatedly logged, this, like Trumbull, left only a few skinny, lonely trees in a "non-forest."

Clinton just signed a bill spending billions to fireproof millions of forest acres situated miles from habitation. Even the Forest Service says fireproofing more than 200 feet from your home is nonproductive.

If you want to see for yourself something more repulsive than even-aged tree farms, telephone the Southwest Forest Alliance office in Flagstaff. Ask for a map to Covington's test sites of forest death.

Richard Peoples, Tempe

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