Our forests are the lungs and lifeline of our planet’s environment. If we breathe air or drink water, we must realize how critical the management of our forest is. Governments do not have the ability to pay for the needed stewardship of these lands. The needed work can only come from the forests paying their own way, with their own renewable forest products.
All of us involved in forest products, whether you own or mangage forest land, or manufacture products from private forest land, must begin to tell your wonderful story of greenness, and you must explain to people where the wood comes from. All of us must start to come together in a united front to allow the wonderful truth of sustainable forestry to be:The decline of our wood products industries is as much a political/social problem as a global economic problem. If we allow the half-truths, myths and lies to control the forestry debate, our industry will continue to decline and our forests will become museums that insure their own demise.
Preservation of forests is not conservation of forests, we are beginning to see the decline in the health of our forests as well as the loss of endangered species by the myth of preservation.
What can you do? Plenty! Get engaged on all levels. If you saw wood or make a wood product be sure you provide your customers with information on the need for active forest management. Look in your state or area and begin to support forestry organizations or on the national level support organizations such as the Forest Landowners Association, Society of American Foresters or Association of Consulting Foresters. Our future is actually in our own hands. Get involved with media, TV, magazines and newspapers. Media is looking for wonderful green stories, and wood and forests are as green as it gets!
Our apathy has to change to advocacy and it has to happen now! Our political leadership must hear from us. We now live in an electronic age where loud shrill voices of extremist appear to get the most attention. We have a wonderful green story that hits on all eight cylinders. What other industry provides for the enhancement and conservation of our environment, while at the same time provides an economic engine?
We need to put Americans back to work, and we need to do it in a fashion that protects and sustains our environment while providing long-term economic growth. The Society of American Foresters has a slogan, “Trees Are The Answer,”
and they are correct.
Forests have fueled the economy of human kind for thousands of years. And yes, even today, most wood being used by humans on this planet is being used in Third World countries by folks who need to keep warm with wood and cook their own food with wood. Lumber production is not the primary use of wood on earth. So we all have a stake in the future of our forests and a social obligation to the great society we live in.
Are we in America so wealthy we can lock up all of our forests as museums to simply walk through and look at while most areas of the plant are exploiting their forests for our economic use? No, we should be managing and using our forests to insure their ecological integrity, producing products and economic prosperity while teaching all the peoples of the world how to sustain their forest resources. We have the best forestry schools in the world, and our forest science is second to none. The time has come for us to regain our role as leaders and help the entire world population sustain a healthy environment and a vibrant economy. It’s what we do as Americans – wake up and begin to advocate!
The pending legislation and regulation that threatens the forest products industry has the potential to severely limit your ability to manage and utilize you land as you see fit. After the elections, political gridlock could be a thing of the past. Let’s all come together in this pivotal year to ensure that Congress is well aware of the consequences of onerous and restrictive legislation.
We must find the time and resources to have a really green tree future so…Advocate, advocate, advocate!