Wednesday, November 30, 2011

 

Now It's Time to Panic Over Our Forests

Thomas Wathen, at CNN.com, has decided it's time to panic over diminishing forests in North America.
If we are to transform the ideals of the International Year of the Forest into action, we must also take such migration needs into account. This vital global resource for traveling wildlife is irreplaceable -- and yet it is vanishing. According to the U.N., forests have disappeared in 25 countries, and another 29 nations have lost more than 90%.
The U.N. report Wathen refers to addresses forest and woodlands internationally. Wathen mistakenly assumes the forests in North America are disappearing rapidly. The truth is quite the opposite.Points from the linked source (Evergreen magazine. Figures as of the year 2000.):
  • Wildlife has been a major conservation success story.
  • Nationally, forest growth rates have exceeded harvest rates since the 1940s, with each decade generally showing a greater margin of growth over harvest than the one preceding. By 1986, the volume of tree growth nationally exceeded the volume harvested by 37 percent; and growth was more than 3 1/2 times what it had been in 1920.
  • For the last 70 years there has been no increase in cropland area.
  • Eastern watersheds have been reforested.
  • The area consumed by wildfire has been reduced by more than 90 percent, from 40-50 million acres in the early 1900s to 2-8 million acres today—even in bad fire years.
We have more forestland now in the U.S. than we had in 1900. I'm an outdoors man and a conservationist, but lets get the story straight.

But, no, let's panic.

Comments:
CNN's Thomas Wathen missed the memo. The scare-talk phrase is "old-growth forest" for much the same reason that "global warming" scare-mongering is no longer operative and has been replaced by "climate change."
 
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