Protecting old-growth forests best way to fight climate change

Albuquerque Journal – During my 35 years working for the U.S. Forest Service, I learned about the “law of holes” the hard way. The first law: if you’re in a hole, stop digging. The second: when you stop digging, you’re still in a hole. The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management stopped digging their way through the country’s ancient forests last week when they issued their first-ever inventory and report on America’s surviving mature and old-growth forests. They still have a long way to get out of the hole.

The agencies are focused almost exclusively on forest fire as the only threat facing older forests on public lands today. This is odd, because older forests survive fire better than younger ones. And the Forest Service moves ahead with commercial timber sales that keep cutting them down. No matter how they spin it, chainsaws are the biggest threat. Logging must be addressed head-on.

Jim Furnish is a retired deputy chief of the USDA Forest Service

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