Letter: Other ways of looking at state forest harvest

To the editor:

Throughout the excitement of the back and forth over the timber sale on Yellowwood State Forest I’m afraid we may have looked over one major thing: common sense. So, for the sake of fun, let’s list a few common sense things when it comes to forests and forest management.

Trees are made of wood, and we make many great products from wood — things like houses, wooden furniture, and best of all, toiletries we use every day.

In the woods, if you cut a tree down, another will grow in its spot. The best way to prevent that from happening is to put a building or pond where the tree used to be.

Living next to a dentist’s office doesn’t make you a dentist. Same goes for the forest and being a forest professional.

Just because it’s a forest, that doesn’t make it a self-maintaining ecosystem. Things such as fire are not allowed to roam like they used to — too many houses and roads in the way.

Just because a tree is big, and potentially old, that doesn’t make it old growth. (If you do want to see some old growth, visit Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest or Donaldson’s Woods.)

The state forest is certified sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Non-native invasive plants taking over the woods are bad for every forestland owner, but “until you’ve walked a mile in my boots” and spent the time controlling these plants, it’s wise not make recommendations from the sidelines.

If you live next to state or federal property and want to do some real forest protection, donate a conservation easement or name them as a beneficiary. Because individual trees come and go, and private land changes hands, but managed forests will be continued to be protected long after either of us is gone.

A forest with every last tree cut down is still a forest. It is just a 1-year-old baby forest.

It’s clear that you can’t walk or see through a 5-year-old clearcut. (Too many pesky young trees in the way.)

“Don’t keep all your eggs in the same basket” applies to forest management. Patches of mature trees and patches of young trees are needed just the same.

Conspiracy theories are exciting, but it’s wise not to believe them. The timber industry is not secretly controlling the DNR’s actions or Purdue’s research results.

Timber sales look ugly, no way around that one. But songbirds and other species that benefit from disturbance to the forest don’t care if humans think it is ugly or pretty.

Tommy Gunn, Brown County resident and forester

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