Hewing plans to thin the forests
I question your editorial "In the forests' favor" (Aug. 24). You applaud the governors' plan to reduce risk of fire by allowing the timber industry access to small-diameter trees. Before the Forest Service accelerates dry-forest treatment, it must develop clear objectives and a plan for restoring forests.
With much of old growth gone, the timber industry has been looking for an excuse to gain access to protected forests. Its bid to help harvest small-diameter logs coincides with new logging technology for thinning forests. Several demonstration projects that restore all components of the ecosystem now serve as templates for other restoration projects, restoring fire-prone forests in a sensitive way. Logging small-diameter trees is simply a quick response to a complex problem.
Janice Ceridwen Colville, Wash.
With optimism that thinning of forests may bea panacea for wildfire, suppression unfortunately appears lost in the mix. There are modern, powerfulaids not being used against wildfire, and for no good reason. The first is an award-winning, environmentally benign fire retardant called "pyrocool." Further, we are aware of a powerful, revolutionary nozzle technology called the "thruster," which will allow firefighters the safety of distance from hot blazes. Seven years ago, we set out to change the way fire was fought from the air. There has been little progress to report. Yet each promoter of these marvellous inventions presses on, undaunted. Laws must follow technology.
John Anderson Global Emergency Response
The Klamath Basin story is reenacted over and over throughout the Northwest ("West makes a battle cry of Klamath Basin," Aug. 27). People who make their living from natural resources are seeing their livelihoods change as resources dwindle, technology takes away jobs, human populations expand into forests, and environmental regulations become stronger. Many come from families that have been logging and farming the same land for generations. To be told that they can't cut trees anymore, or to be denied water, naturally puts them up in arms. The rural presence of environmentalists from cities and universities cultivates an "us versus them" kind of battle. Farmers and environmentalists should compromise. Environmentalists must remember that farming is a way of life. Farmers must remember that environmental regulations are not personal attacks, but necessary steps for the future health of this land.
Andrew Freeman Arcata, Calif.
Elisa Harris may be correct about the Clinton administration's support for the Biological Weapons Convention, and she may be correct that the convention can reduce the risk of proliferation ("Bioweapons treaty -still a good idea," Aug. 24, opinion page). What she fails to admit is that if any nation, group, or individual is serious about developing biological weapons, there isn't much that one nation or treaty can do. A unilateralist approach to the world is suicidal. Bush's current effort to increase US military superiority will only hasten the day that bioweapons will be made in response. Principles are far more important to US security than technology. Rather than squabble over treaties, political leaders must create a world devoid of motivation to use such weapons. Without global justice, we have only a temporary cease-fire.
World Federalist Association Washington
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