The Bureau of Land Management is proposing a timber sale in the Shotgun area northeast of Eugene. Right now we all have the opportunity to tell them which of their alternatives we prefer.
A few of my concerns: The BLM claims to harvest trees at a sustainable rate, but many of their tree plantations are lagging behind the growth rate predicted by their sustainability model. In these times of climate change, optimistic predictions of growth are foolish.
The BLM’s sustainability model does not address carbon sequestration. As carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases it traps heat around the earth’s surface. The value of our forests comes from the capacity of trees to keep carbon out of the atmosphere. When a stand of mature trees is cut, the amount of carbon sequestration it had been providing is lost totally. The immature trees that replace it will not store as much carbon for many years to come. Not including carbon sequestration in any model of sustainability is outmoded and irresponsible.
Every year we anxiously watch the news as millions of acres of forest are destroyed by wildfires. Today our woods are full of fuels: fallen trees, branches on the ground, dead branches on lower tree trunks. Part of the BLM’s job is to protect the forest. Failure to remove fuels and thin dense stands of trees is indefensible.
The BLM is mandated to do more than sell timber. We must encourage them to update their sustainability model and manage the forest for health and fire prevention.