Letters to the editor for October 22, 2012

By Observer Upload October 22, 2012 02:04 pm
Letters to the editor for October 22, 2012

Don’t dine on the goose that lays golden eggs

To the Editor:

Regarding local lumbering: If we didn’t have the firs foresting the west slope of the Cascades, most of the ocean water wouldn’t make it over the hump to interior Oregon. A big tree holds 100 gallons or more of rain and snowmelt and is evaporating that back into the air like a big suction machine out of the wet ground. It’s that vapor that makes it across. Everything else goes back down into the ocean.

Simplified, our water source looks like this: coast range (in Tillamook Valley it is always raining) to the Cascades to the Blues to the Sawtooths and Rockies. The more trees missing from each forest, the less vapor and rain moves inland to fill streams and those wells out in our valleys, the less that makes it into Idaho’s mountains to recharge grazing land and farms, immensely more economically valuable than lumbering.

No water, no trees, no animals or people. Vapor is invisible, but its effects are not. Think invisible. Think centuries, not years.

North Africa used to have forest and grazing land. Ever hear of the Sahara? Greece used to be green and forested. They cut it all down and overgrazed.

Forests make reservoirs out of even mountains. It isn’t all El Nino. Or even aviation fuels. Some we are doing here with our own two hands. The last couple years a whole forest moved through Union on logging trucks. The Cascades were given a reprieve of 20 years for forest growth to catch up. Here the situation is different. We simply don’t have the rainfall the western Cascade slope has. Heavy forests were reported by pioneers through this valley. Look out your window. Even after decades of little lumbering, it has not caught up. What has happened back in the hills is not much different. We can’t make that kind of comeback.

Forests not only need rain, they make it rain. Norway is paying Guyana to keep its rainforest because of the way water vapor moves around in the winds. 

They are taking care of the goose that lays the golden eggs instead of killing it for dinner. Logging is easy come, easy go. Growing trees for water and life takes long-term
guardianship.

Thank those heroic foresters who are seeing to it that we get those beautiful clouds of last weekend. We can bless each other or we can grab it as temporary wealth for ourselves.

Miriam Hess

Union