Letter to the editor: Forest health vital for future

The article titled “In a Warming World, New Thinking Imperils Vermont’s Wood-Fueled Energy Market” in the Oct. 9 edition of Seven Days did an excellent job of portraying two contrasting visions of Vermont’s two primary human relationships with forests.

One vision sees forests as resources that need to be managed and used. The other vision sees forests first as ecosystems that require lots more space from human intervention to preserve their inherent, continued, capacity for self-renewal.

The article features two publicly held enterprises, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation and the Burlington Electric Department. Both are forest resource managers calling for more careful use of Vermont’s forests for renewable, carbon-based energy.

Members of two other Vermont institutions — Bill Keeton of the University of Vermont, and Jon Liebowitz of the Northeast Wilderness Trust — are joined by Bill McKibben, author, environmental advocate, and Commoner, in advocating for putting forest ecosystem health first in Vermont by leaving more wood to mature and to rot in the forest in support of forest ecosystem health and natural services.

The climate crisis and global heating are calling on humanity to move away from carbon-based fuels and to embrace radical increases in energy efficiency and direct, non-carbon, solar energy. The climate crisis and global heating are demanding bold, new relationships with forests that put forest ecosystem health first.

As Justin Brande used to preach, “Without ecology there is no economy!” It is high time to carefully listen to and embrace Justin’s wise words and to fast-forward a forestry in Vermont that recognizes this profound yet simple fact.

It is better-late-than-never to put public, private, and common interests and associated policies in place that advance forest ecosystem health as the top priority.

Our grandchildren and our one and only planet are demanding that we move boldly and quickly on this. There is no choice and time is running out.

David Brynn


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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

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