Yet again, we, as Oregonians, have suffered through hideous, unending smoke. As a native Oregonian, it angers me to hear the news blame the mismanagement of the federal and Bureau of Land Management lands. There is plenty o evidence the problem is with the "fake forests" planted on private timberland.
Industrialized timber landscapes, thousands of acres planted entirely of Douglas fir. These are "pitch forests," a disaster waiting to happen. And it did. We are seeing this time and time again.
A natural forest floor is blanketed by a variety of ferns, mosses, mushrooms, deciduous trees and flora and fauna that don't burn well. This vegetation doesn't exist in private plantations. Industry's fundamental interest is money. Trees are planted too close together, equal age and height or, worse yet, stair-step aged plantations next to each other. They aerial spray these fake forests with pesticides and herbicides — or poison — to prevent natural growth of any kind.
These are same-age trees standing too close together for either fire resistance or bird habitat. Fact: Young tree plantations use more water and lose more of it to evaporation, damaging trout streams.
The industry has mismanaged their land to death. It is affecting us all, and not just Oregonians. Something must be done to correct this imbalance. If the industry is allowed to go back and repeat this process, it is the definition of insanity. When trees are cut down before reaching the peak of their ability to absorb carbon, it stunts one of the state's biggest assets in climate change.
The use of herbicide on clear-cuts and the lack of mature trees have deteriorated habitat for native songbirds on industrial and private lands. Streams for fish habitat and drinking water is drying up because young forests use more water and lose more of it to evaporation.
It will take years to correct the imbalance in our forests, but something must be done. Industry needs to be held accountable and make changes going forward. Vote for Kat Stone! She has a plan to remedy this imbalance.