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Into the woods

June 6, 2015
Bill would protect our forests

For far too long, our nation's forests have been fighting a battle for survival. The conflict is not with logging, but with effects of reactive versus proactive management which has resulted in costly confrontations with wildfire, disease, and insects.

You see, on private timberland and many state lands, voluntary best-management forestry standards are put in place that ensure sustainable reforestation to promote healthy forests that produce construction materials, paper, and other consumer products while providing an array of multiple uses including recreation, wildlife habitat, better water quality, cleaner air, and soil protection.

However, in recent years, scientific forest management practices like controlled burns and timber harvesting have been challenged in court, resulting in overgrown, stressed forests that are unhealthy and subject to natural calamities. The trend has moved toward "unmanaged" forestland on national forests with one caveat. When a fire starts, we are put in a reactive management position of fighting the fire. As a result, states like California and Colorado have experienced some of the most destructive wildfires on record during the last two decades.

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