Letter: Forest alliance is not demonizing foresters

To the editor:

I would like to respond to Dan Gehring’s letter published on Jan. 4, 2017.

Mr. Gehring’s opening statement is as follows: “It will be a sad day for “The Future of the Forests” (Ben Kibbey, Nov. 30 Democrat) and Indiana wildlife if Indiana Forest Alliance directors achieve their agenda of eliminating habitat management on public forest. The means to their end is to demonize foresters, wildlife biologists and science-based conservation groups.”

First, The Indiana Forest Alliance is a science-based conservation group. We have never, in any of our public statements or publications, sought to ”demonize foresters, wildlife biologists and science-based conservation groups.” In fact, we are a diverse group comprised of many wildlife biologists and forest scientists. We are also not at all against responsible forest management.

What we are against is the 400 percent increase in the rate of logging that, as the Director of the Department of Forestry John Siefert said in a public comment meeting, is necessitated due to funding loss of the DNR from the Indiana legislature.

We would also like to see a portion of our forests preserved as part of the mix.

As Brown County people we might well ask, who is this man from Zionsville and why does he write a letter to the editor of our local paper whenever any criticisms of the current logging practices are mentioned in this publication. Is he a troll for the DNR? Or is he pursuing his personal agenda under the guise of scientific management of our state forests? The answer to both questions seems obvious.

While it’s all well and good for Mr. Gehring to share his opinions in our local paper, we should remember that the management choices that impact our local forests are something we will have to live with for the next several generations.

If the current Strategic Forest Plan is allowed to run its course unaltered, there will be a profound impact on our environment and our economy.

Friends, there’s more to this story than Mr. Gehring would have you believe. His demonizing of the Indiana Forest Alliance through false statements and innuendo should pique your curiosity about who we are and what we’re doing. We are a completely transparent organization devoted to responsible forest management, and I urge you to check us out.

David H. Seastrom, Brown County

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