In addition, the author has the erroneous idea environmentalists do not believe in using wood products. This is ridiculous. We are not against responsible logging on private lands, but we are opposed to the needless and politically motivated logging of our state forests.
A recent Ohio Environment Report compiled by The Ohio State University's Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics concluded industrial harvesting of state forestland does not appear to be necessary to help limit price growth or sustain the forest products industry in Ohio's future. There also likely is a high value in holding these relatively older forests for environmental or recreation purposes.
Today, policy-makers have a rare opportunity to focus management of public lands on other benefits, such as recreational or other environmental benefits, without having adverse economic consequences on markets.
Clearly, logging in Shawnee State Forest is not a matter of supply and demand. It is about money, politics and skimming the gravy off the top.
As well, it is a myth Shawnee Forest was heavily clear-cut when it was acquired by the state in the early 1900s. A 1939 Division of Forestry's Shawnee State Forest brochure reads “Here is mile after mile of forest, broken only by an occasional patch or strip of cultivated soil in the narrow valleys ... the hiker gets the pleasure of traveling through heavily wooded, expansive forests ... The few open areas, old fields, etc., that were included in the tracts purchased have been reforested ...”
Furthermore, clear-cutting produces the re-growth of softwoods and drastically diminishes the acorns for wildlife, not vice versa. Scientists Beck and Hooper once performed a study in Appalachian forests. A mixed stand of 53 percent oak, 33 percent poplar and 14 percent other species were clear-cut. Twenty years later, softwoods dominated the developing even-aged stand, predominately of sprout origin. Oaks were a decreasing component.
A study by the University of Georgia, Institute of Natural Resources and School of Forest Resources and Georgia Department of Natural Resources, found clear-cutting removes mature acorn-bearing oaks. The authors commented clear-cutting was detrimental because it deprived wildlife of a needed winter food source. Additionally, it takes decades for oak trees to begin producing acorns, and these trees do not hit peak production until about 100 years of age.
Please remember when an environmentalist looks at the forest, she or he does not see the trees as wood, a crop or money; instead, she or he sees the forest as an incredible creation and gift from God. If preserved and protected, it can be enjoyed generation after generation, or the forest can be destroyed for the profit of the timber companies and its political allies. It comes down to what one values.
- Cheryl Carpenter of Lucasville is one of the co-founders of Voices for the Forest