Ruth Sandra Sperling
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I found out about a pdf document on the internet from the
UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) World Conservation Monitoring Centre, which they have named "Carbon and biodiversity, A demonstration atlas".
Here is the link: http://www.unep.org/pdf/carbon_biodiversity.pdf
Some of the environmental groups I strongly support for their work on protecting and restoring biodiversity, The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International, were contributors to this report.
I am glad to see that the United Nations has shown this support for Global Biodiversity.
A large part of it is protecting lands of primary Old Growth - some of the healthiest and most ecologically significant lands left on this planet.
Not logging the primary Old Growth left on this planet may be the most valuable thing that we can do on this planet at this time - for the web of life.
Anyone who has seen a clearcut in a forest first-hand and in-person knows from personal experience what a clearcut looks like and how it must affect the forest -- and I have seen a clearcut that must not have been too old at the time I saw it. It was in the Sequoia National Forest in the late 1980's when logging and clearcuts were still going on there. It wasn't too far off the Western Divide Highway in the southern portion of the Sequoia National Forest in what is now the Giant Sequoia National Monument. I was driving down a back road looking for a good place to take some people hiking - I drove around a corner and was shocked at the devastation of this clearcut. Obviously, I was not going to bring these people hiking here as they liked to photograph live trees, etc. It totally upset me and was part of my motivation for getting involved in public issues regarding managing the National Forests.
And, YES, this was in an area not too terribly far from Giant Sequoia groves, though I don't know exactly how close - it was on the western side of the Western Divide Highway somewhere south of the Wheel Meadow Grove and east of Red Hill Grove and Peyrone Grove. I have a map of the Sequoia National Forest and I know where these are.
It was reading Aldo Leopold - both in his book, A Sand County Almanac, and his paper, The Last Stand - that I found out about the devastating effects of clearcutting on the land in addition to just the removal of the trees.
I would like to quote from these.
From "The Last Stand" by Aldo Leopold as published in The Leopold Outlook Winter 2004, A newsletter published quarterly by The Aldo Leopold Foundation.
"Few laymen realize that the penalties of violence to a forest may far outlast its visible evidence. I know a hardwood forest called the Spessart, covering a mountain on the north flank of the Alps. Half of it has sustained cuttings since 1605, but was never slashed. The other half was slashed during the 1600's, but has been under intensive forestry during the last 150 years. Despite this rigid protection, the old slashing now produces only mediocre pine, while the unslashed portion grows the finest cabinet oak in the world; one of those oaks fetches a higher price than a whole acre of the old slashings. On the old slashings the litter accumulates without rotting, stumps and limbs disappear slowly, natural reproduction is slow. On the unslashed portion litter disappears as it falls, stumps and limbs rot at once, natural reproduction is automatic. Foresters attribute the inferior performance of the old slashing to its depleted microflora, meaning that the underground community of bacteria, molds, fungi, and burrowing mammals which constitute half the environment of a tree.
"The existence of the term microflora implies, to the layman, that science knows all the citizens of the underground community, and is able to push them around at will. As a matter of fact, science knows little more than the community exists, and that it is important."
In the book, A Sand County Almanac, in the section, The Upshot, in the sub-section, "Wilderness for Science", I quote Aldo Leopold again:
"Many forest plantations are producing one-log or two-log trees on soil which originally grew three-log and four-log trees. Why? Thinking foresters know that the cause lies not in the tree, but in the micro-flora of the soil, and that it may take more years to restore the soil flora than it took to destroy it."
So, clearcutting - or "slashing" as Aldo Leopold called it in "The Last Stand", has a destructive impact on the land that affects future growth on that land.
WITH WHAT WE NEED TO DO TO PROTECT THE HEALTH OF THE PLANET AND THE LAND, I THEREFORE CONCLUDE THAT WE CANNOT AFFORD TO DO ANY MORE CLEARCUTTING ON THIS PLANET - ESPECIALLY ON PRIMARY OLD GROWTH LANDS.
Also, in the same issue of The Leopold Outlook of Winter 2004 is an essay written by 2 former Chiefs of the United States Forest Service published originally August 24, 2003, Mike Dombeck and Jack Ward Thomas - "Declare Harvest of Old-Growth Forests Off-Limits and Move On"
I would like to quote one paragraph that I feel contains key, relevant information.
"Second, scientists increasingly appreciate old-growth forests as reservoirs of biodiversity with associated 'banks' of genetic material. Most stands are prtected as habitat for threatened or endangered (and associated) species - to meet the purpose of the Endangered Species Act '...to provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved...' It's time to stop fighting over what little old growth remains unprotected."
And part of another paragraph discussing forest management from this same article.
"Forest management should focus on restoring forest health and reducing fire risk, intially in areas where risk to human life and property are greatest - the so-called wildand/urban interface. Then, appropriate management practices should be strategically targeted in the right places and at the right scales across the landscape."
YES, FOLKS, PEOPLE WHO RAN (PAST TENSE MEANING IN THE PAST) THE US FOREST SERVICE FEEL THAT OLD GROWTH SHOULD NOT BE LOGGED.
It is now becoming a global issue - with The Nature Conservancy (see Plant A Billion Trees gadget on this blog!) and Conservation International and Care2 running campaigns for protecting rainforest and planting trees - and the United Nations publishing papers on it.
You, too can join the bandwagon - through these organizations you can contribute to protecting the Old Growth forests left on this planet - incluidng for free by clicking on Care2's Race for the Rainforest!!