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Logging devastation in Mapuche Territory, Chile. Photo: Langelle/GJEP 2004

Logging is not the solution to wildfires or climate change

The Hill 23 Sept 2020

John Talberth

The bodies are still being counted. The land is still burning. Yet Big Timber is wasting no time greasing the wheels in Congress for another round of profiteering from the staggering community losses in the West.

In a recent op-ed published on The Hill, the author repeats tired old myths about logging, wildfires and climate change that science has thoroughly debunked but which serve logging corporations well. What the author fails to mention is that timber companies promote salvage logging on federal lands because it gives them an opportunity to buy top quality logs at heavily discounted fire-sale prices. Taxpayers and Forest Service revenues take the loss.

Logging makes fires worse, not better. One of the most fateful management choices Congress and our federal forest agencies made in the past was to allow logging corporations free reign on public lands to take the biggest, oldest, most fire-resistant trees with them and leave behind flammable piles of slash, dense plantations of young trees and networks of logging roads that would stretch from here to the moon and halfway back. With these roads come more human-sparked fires from logging equipment, irresponsible campers, gunfire and fireworks. Ninety percent of wildland fires are human caused and this labyrinth of logging roads provides the conduit.

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