Saving the Owls, the Forests, and the Loggers

The larger view is missing from the article "What to Do About the Spotted Owl and Logging," Sept. 16, which portrays the controversy as one between local people and economies on one hand and spotted owls and environmentalists on the other.What is at stake is a complex ecosystem. In less than 100 years, our culture has clear-cut more than 90 percent of these ancient forests. Our "replacement" has been tree farms, which provide raw materials for industry, but are no replacement for many species of wildlife dependent on the complex web of life, growth, death, and decay represented in the dynamic ecosystem we are clear-cutting. The article says that "University of Washington researchers predicted severe social and political strain if courts and federal agencies sharply cut back logging to protect the spotted owl." But at current harvest rates, loggers will cut all remaining ancient forests in about a decade. Then "severe social and political strain" will have to be faced with no one - owl or environmentalist - to blame other than this generation's greedy race to cash in on one more ecological treasure. We should offer generous economic adjustment aid to effected workers and communities and protect this remnant of earth's natural majesty - before our greed adds one more shame to our children's dwindling natural inheritance. Don Arnosti, St. Paul, Minn.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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