Osier: A longer view on Summit County forest health is needed
May 28, 2014
Re: Howard Brown's May 27 letter to the editor.
I can understand Mr. Brown's emotional attachment to a place in time. Because the forest is a living organism that lives and dies by the rules of nature, not by what we want, it will not look the same to your grandchildren. As a forester I had been taught to look hundreds of years into the future so as to visualize the new invigorated forest that would follow cutting. This was by way of looking at stands along a continuum from young to old. By mimicking natural disasters (beetle infestations and fires) through cutting, we can keep a forest in its prime and continue to provide renewable products continuously. I worked on the Dillon Ranger District in 1983 during one of the periodic infestations of the mountain pine beetle. After the beetle made its initial attack, we attempted to treat it, after the fact (unsuccessfully) using various methods. We did, however, clear-cut Lake Hill adjacent to Interstate 70 between the scenic overlook and the Silverthorne exit on the southeast side of the road. This stand was a mix of lodgepole and aspen that within about 10 years of cutting provided an excellent area for Christmas tree harvest, helping to thin the stand. At the same time the new stand provided many benefits to various wildlife and especially young vigorous trees, providing a major source of oxygen for the local area. If you look at the adjacent stands of trees you will see this now 30-year-old stand is by far the healthiest around. I would take the time to look at what is the long-term goal is for the area, before I condemn the strategy to achieve it.
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