More Trees Than Story Says

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Editor:

In article dated 2 Feb. states, “Only about 40,000 big trees greater than 16 inches in diameter remain [on the four national forests in northern Arizona].”

This figure is easily fact-checked at http://fiatools.fs.fed.us/fido/index.html.

The figure is low by a factor of almost 1,000 for the ponderosa pine areas of these four national forests alone.

In fact, available evidence indicates there are more trees 16 inches in diameter and larger today than there were in times before logging began. It is only when one considers trees over about 24 inches in diameter that deficits compared to historic times begin to appear.

Leaving large numbers of trees between 16 and 24 inches in excess of historic levels means we are choosing to have less understory of grasses, forbs and shrubs. This means we are also choosing to have less biodiversity because this is where most of it occurs in pine forests.

Bruce Higgins

Flagstaff

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