posted on Sep, 6 2005 @ 12:15 AM
In the conterminous U.S. urban areas average 27% crown closure. The Loop in Chicago is 11%. The definition of 'forested' is 10% crown closure,
EXCEPT URBAN AREAS no matter how much crown closure exists there. This is the internationally accepted scientific definition.
The U.S. is currently about 34% forested and increasing. In 1620 it was about 45%. So we are down from historical levels, but nearly as much as the
environmental industry claims. The U.S. has about the same forest cover now as in 1900, and more than 1970 -- the first earth day. And remember --
this is excluding urban areas. If you want to include urban areas in the amount of forested land add roughly three percent. Forest density also
about a third higher now than historic levels. This puts the U.S. in the odd position of having more trees now than any time in the last 10,000
Contrary to popular belief and the disinformation campaign from the environmental industry, North America was not coast-to-coast old growth. Of the
forested areas (remember -- less than half of the land mass), only about 30% was old growth. The rest was other seral stages. East of the Mississippi
most of it is gone. Not so in the West -- old growth is actually increasing, in some areas to the exclusion of other seral stages and plant
communities. Conifer forests in California are currently 34% old growth or late seral -- higher than historic levels. The diminishing montane
meadows and early seral forests are a major concern to wildlife biologists, most of whom now openly advocate increasing harvest levels. Nationwide
the average tree diameter is increasing. Everyone talks about overpopulation. No one talks about overforestation.
Again contrary to the lies of the environmental industry, most old growth forest types are not very biodiverse. The dry interior forests of the
western U.S.. for example, old growth is often described as 'biological deserts' with little diversity. Old growth has a few niche species that
cannot live elsewhere, but early and mid seral forests have an exponentially greater number of species dependent on them.
This is why nearly every science based environmental organization (Society of American Foresters, the Wildlife Society, Ecological Society of America,
National Association of Conservation Organizations, National Association of State Wildlife Agencies, National Association of State Foresters, National
Association of Forestry Colleges and Universities, among numerous others) all support active management, including harvesting, of forests. The Nature
Conservancy actively manages their forests, including clearcutting where appropriate(clearcutting is ecologically healthy in certain circumstances).
Both forest certification organizations -- the Sustained Forestry Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council -- encourage harvesting.
So who does not support managing forest lands? the sierra club for one, but they refused to defend their policy in a public debate. In June 2002 the
Society of American Foresters sent a letter to the sierra club board, with an offer. To keep the lines of communication open, the SAF offered space
in the Journal of Forestry for the sierra club to explain and defend their position on forest management, in exchange the SAF would be granted space
in the magazine Sierra to defend forest management. The sierra club offered no response. They turned tail and ran.