Considering Forest Destruction in Our Own Back Yard

Recently while listening to the radio I heard another piece about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and the resulting impacts this has on climate change and species diversity. I had to pause and wonder why we are not equally alarmed by the massive destruction of our temperate forests in the N. hemisphere. Since the 1600s the United States has lost 75% of its virgin forests.  Some have regenerated but overall we have less than half the forest that we originally had. No matter where forests are when they are cut down, they release carbon into the atmosphere and result in loss of natural habitat.

I have lived in Yamhill County, Oregon for over 30 years.  During that time I have seen local forests disappear acre by acre and replaced by vineyards with barely a shoulder shrug.  We decry the leveling of forest in Brazil and Asia but yet view our forests as disposable for our local economy.  It’s the way things have always been done for economic growth.

This model has never worked. The earth’s resources are finite.  There must be a consideration for the planet when we take for our consumption.  We must adopt a spirit of reciprocity and in consideration of the effects on our air, water, and the animal that need these forests.

So what does that look like?  That means there needs to be some regulation that requires for every acre of forest removed for housing and agriculture or any other use, a percentage of forest will be left as natural corridors.  There should be requirements for vineyards and developments protect a portion of the land for native trees and shrubs, or replant an area with the same.

Will this affect profits?  Maybe we need to rethink what profit means.  It’s not just about the financial benefit of a few.  It’s about the survival of all that live on this earth- and that’s not just about humans.

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