Logger: A Friend Of Forests

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Editor:

Ms. Elise Lauster's (Phoenix) letter in Feb. 7 Roundup ("Fire is Logger's Best Friend") states that salvage logging of the Rodeo-Chediski burn is "dangerous, shortsighted" and "demands citizen oversight afforded by environmental law." She also claims that "wildfire is the logging industry's best friend here."

Uncontrolled "wildfire" is nobody's best friend. It is an enemy to the logger, the logging industry, the forest site, and to all citizens.

When large areas of national forest timber are killed or weakened by fire, insects, disease or wind, it is the responsibility of the Forest Service to salvage the timber before the wood rots. A court injunction ("environmental law") to stop the salvage operation runs contrary to forest management law which established the Forest Service and its activities.

Slash (limbed branches and low-quality wood) remains on-site in most logging operations. It is either control-burned or scattered over the site to decompose, adding nutrients to the soil to regenerate healthy seedlings. And that next young forest must be thinned to maintain its health and produce "big trees."

An un-thinned forest is unhealthy because all trees are competing for soil moisture. Especially when drought prevails, soil moisture is inadequate causing trees to lose vigor and be more susceptible to insect and disease attack. Also a thinned forest is usually more fire resistant due to reduced fuel loads.

Forestry and forest science should manage our forests, not the misguided, misinformed citizenry who espouse "environmental law." It takes the logger and the logging industry to implement forest health, guided by professional management plans of the Forest Service. When "environmental law" impedes the practice of good forest management, it is our forests and citizens who suffer.

Wes Suhr, Pine

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