It is a good idea to take care of nature
We’ve been given a beautiful planet on which to live, is an idea shared by many people. It is also the seed of destruction of forests, rivers, oceans, and many wonders of the planet we take for granted, as if it was created just for us. We are stewards of the Earth, and we have failed.
Why would we continue destroying the forests when the West Coast is burning due to climate wildfires?
Let the forests go wild
In 2019, Dr. William Moomaw, a leading climate expert, suggested to stay away from the forests, stop forest management, and let nature take care of the forests. Moomaw describes in detail why proforestation is the best option. Old-growth forests, peatlands, and wetlands must be respected and protected from the worst invasive species – climate criminals.
The timber fallacy
Federal agencies in charge of protecting the environment, our food supply, and our national forests have failed Americans, following orders from the Climate Denier in Chief to prop up the U.S. economy before November 3.
Foresters claim young trees sequester more carbon than old-growth trees. There is no science behind this pervasive claim but there are peer-reviewed large studies proving the opposite. Old-growth forests are the natural climate solution, the best carbon capture and sequestration systems.
A January 2014 Nature report lead by Nate Stephenson on a large study of more than 400 species of trees from six continents, proved old-growth trees sequester more carbon than young trees. It is all about the number of leaves. “If a typical tree’s diameter grows 10 times as large, it will undergo a hundredfold increase in leaf mass and a hundredfold increase in total leaf area,” the study found.
In Arkansas, when people say they plant trees, they buy seedlings from the Arkansas Forestry Commission. The bare-root tree seedlings must be kept refrigerated and wet as they are fragile. I had 250 seedlings planted last February. Watering 250 seedlings is not an easy task, I left that to Mother Nature. It’s not easy to grow trees, it will take years before I see the results, but at least I tried.
Thinking of timber and counting the logs is like seeing New York skyscrapers and ignoring the complex underground networks –water pipelines, sewers, and high-speed communications that make NYC come alive.
Foresters see forests as timber, a primitive viewpoint that ignores that forests are resilient communities of a large variety of plants, wildlife, and trees. Everything has a purpose. Mother trees nurture their kin sharing energy, sugar, and water, connected by an underground fungal web.
Fungi are the largest organisms on earth, over 300 miles long. Mycelium is the global network of underground mycorrhizal fungi helping plant roots absorb nutrients and fight-off harmful, soil-dwelling predators. In exchange, the fungi receive sugars and nutrients from their host plant. To learn about fungi and the secrets of the forests, please watch “Fascinating Fungi” a must-see new movie.
Raking the forests will not prevent climate wildfires
Raking the floor of the forests is laughable. The federal government owns more than 640 million acres of land, how many rakes do we need?
Stopping carbon emissions today is the only way to prevent climate fires. Pictures of Paradise, California, destroyed by the Camp Fire show burned cars melting on the roads and standing trees!
The 2020 California wildfires have already generated more than 91 million metric tons of CO2, about 25 percent more than annual emissions from fossil fuels in the state, and the wildfires continue.
We can’t ignore droughts, insect infestations, heatwaves, and all other extreme weather events from burning fossil fuels.
Arson should come with severe punishment. We must be on high alert to stop arsonists before they strike. If you see something, say something. Arson is a Homeland Security threat deserving funding and resources.
The U.S. Forest Service announced a final plan to open vast swaths of irreplaceable old-growth temperate rainforest to clearcut logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. Please contact Corey Himrod, Alaska Wilderness League, (202) 266-0426, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Luis Contreras