To Clear-Cut or Not to Clear-Cut?

In the Opinion page article "Administration Forestry Policy: a Clear-Cut Disaster," July 23, the author advocates unrestricted use of selective cutting in our forests. That is a much surer way than clear-cutting to degrade our forests and reduce their productivity and biodiversity. The reason is that it ignores the silvical characteristics - the biology if you will - of the species.

On millions of acres of forest where selective logging has been used the productivity of the forest is reduced. The reason is that size is assumed to be the equivalent of age, and the largest trees are selected for cutting. The net effect of selection cutting is that the best trees are selected and the worst are left.

We have evidence that forests are resilient and can respond to perturbations: the presence in the flora of shade-intolerant species. The fact is that most forests, and the most desirable species for man's use, are tolerant to shade. They are maintained in a forest by major disturbances, like clear-cutting or fire or wind or insect epidemics. Clear-cutting is not all bad. Benjamin B. Stout, Albany, Ore.

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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