Rep. Westerman: Utilize forests to protect them
Forests should be utilized to manage their growth and build the economy, said Congress’ only forester, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs.
Speaking to the Innovate Arkansas Timber and Wood Design, Construction, and Production Conference at the University of Arkansas System Administration Conference Center on Aug. 19, Westerman said the lack of forest management is making forests vulnerable to catastrophic wildfires. Ten million acres of timberland burned last year, releasing 100 million tons of carbon, said Westerman, who represents Arkansas; 4th Congressional District that includes much of the state’s forested land.
“We’re in a situation right now where the forests need industry more than industry needs the forests is one way you can think of that,” he said. “There’s so much volume that needs to come off of our forests just to keep the forests healthy that we really need to grow industry to be able to utilize that wood.”