In Washington, we all want healthy forests.
If there’s anything quintessentially Washingtonian, it is this one shared value. We may come together around that goal for different reasons, but the commitment to it is universally sincere.
Exactly what makes a forest healthy is still being studied by scientists, but what they have learned so far concludes that it begins with active management.
Just as your own body health begins with some routine maintenance and preventive care, so does forest health start with practices designed to support the health of whole landscapes with active practices, what we call – not surprisingly – active forest management.
Working forests in Washington have been doing a great deal of good by implementing active forest management practices to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, keep thousands of miles of streams clear for fish passage, and sustainably growing versatile and renewable wood. And, activity in working forests generates much-needed revenue for our school system at a time when K-12 funding is under extreme pressure.
This point of view was reinforced by two excellent op-eds, one at Seattle news website Crosscut by former Department of Natural Resources employee Todd Myers and the other in the Eugene Register-Guard by American Forest Resource Council CEO Travis Joseph.
At Crosscut, Myers suggests that the decision Washingtonians will make in the state lands commissioner race should be guided by which candidate can make a commitment to prioritize scientifically responsible active management practices to promote forest health. Myers writes: