To Clear-Cut or Not to Clear-Cut?

Regarding the Opinion page article "Clear-Cutting Has a Place in the National Forests," July 23: A healthy forest is a complex web of millions of interdependent plant and animal lives that we haven't begun to understand.

Up to 60 percent of a healthy forest's soil consists of rotting wood that is creating fertility rather than being pulped or sawn for human artifacts. Natural disasters do not deprive forests of such soil enrichment clear-cuts do. Uninformed forest "management," private or public, driven by short-term profitability or political expediency, can only do damage.

We need to change the covenants governing the stewardship of our national forests. We also must preserve what little remains of old growth, to teach us what healthy forest ecosystems are like. Clear-cutting and planting only commercially desirable trees does not make healthy forests. Absent is any real understanding of forests by politicians, bureaucracies, and industry.

We all share in inheriting our national forests. We have subsidized the exploitation of our timber by private interests, thereby endangering the health of the biosphere. For the sake of future generations we must stop it. Kurt Volckmar, Garberville, Calif.

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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