Letter to the editor: Save our own carbon sequesters right here, right now | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Save our own carbon sequesters right here, right now

Howard Brown

Sunday’s Summit Daily front page article covered a Forest Health Task Force meeting about planting trees world wide as a way to sequester carbon and reduce climate change. (“Experts: Plant a trillion trees to save the future from climate change,” published Aug. 25 in the Summit Daily News.) This is a great “think-globally” concept that I strongly support, but we need to act locally. These meetings are a primary focus of what little information dissemination and public participation the U.S. Forest Service does, but they allow meager influence on what’s really being done to our forests. While this meeting was going on, forest disservice contractors were busily mowing down huge swaths of Summit County’s existing forest.

These are existing mature trees with large foliage to capture carbon dioxide and large root networks with associated fungi that do much of trees’ real carbon sequestration. They are forests just now morphing into spruce-fir with much larger foliage and root networks from the lodgepole pine that grew there since they were last clear-cut, nearly a hundred years ago. This modern clear-cutting plan was developed under threat of impending beetle attack and supposed fire danger from the trees to be killed, even though miles from development. The beetle-kill was far less than projected — you’d be hard-pressed to notice the dead trees when in the forest — and what trees did die quickly dropped their needles and become much less a “fuel load” than live trees.

The forest in jeopardy right here and right now includes the very heavily used Peaks and Colorado/Gold Hill Trails, what we show to the world as beautiful Summit County. For the sake of the world’s climate and our local economy and recreation, ask your county commissioners to put their climate change concern to work right here, right now and demand that the forest disservice halt this senseless destruction and hundred-year setback.

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