Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Utilizing Our Own Trees

Tree farming cuts down greenhouse gases
Monday, September 29 4:47 p.m.

In many circles these days, it's fashionable to criticize forestry. Critics say tree farming, cutting trees and salvaging logs for lumber, paper and thousands of other products we need every day are bad practices and clearly harmful to the environment. They are wrong.

Washington has a long tradition of tree farming. In fact, the nation's first tree farm was designated near Montesano in 1941, and since then, the American Tree Farm System has grown to 65,000 family woodland owners managing 26 million acres of forests. These families make their living by growing, managing, harvesting and replanting trees, which in turn provide wildlife habitats, protect water quality and freshen the air we breathe. If these owners are not good environmental stewards, they fail as farmers.

In a day when we are all concerned about climate change, well-managed working forests improve the environment by absorbing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and producing oxygen. That CO2 is locked in the trees and surrounding soil, a so-called carbon sink. And researchers have found that younger, faster growing trees and trees in thinned forests metabolize CO2 rapidly. Read More

With doomsday reports being thrown at us daily about the shortages of everything from oil to food, one thing we don’t have a shortage of in this country is trees. Trees are growing faster than we are cutting them down. This makes trees one of our greatest renewable resources. However, there are people trying to tell us all of the horrors of cutting down a tree. In fact their message was told enough that we now import much of the lumber we use in the United States. This abundant natural resource should be utilized instead of heading down the path of energy where we depend on someone else for our needs.

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