Forest fires seem to increase year after year.  California fires have taken a record toll of property damage despite a plethora of moisture earlier in the year.  Can we attribute the cause to “climate change” or is this just another philosophical debate? The answer can greatly affect our forests.

Bark Beetle Destruction

The day prior to this writing I drove through central Colorado and couldn’t help but notice the large numbers of dead evergreens, destruction often attributed to bark beetles that kill standing pine trees.  I have driven through stands of dead forests where not a single green tree can be seen.  As years pass these trees become “standing kindling” where a single lightening strike ignites a fire that burns out of control and literally spreads like wildfire.

Why Not Do Something?

“Let nature take its course” is a common principle many conservation managers ascribe to.  In the case of dead forests, why not cut them down and plant new trees?  Instead of having thousands of acres of firewood ready to ignite, begin the replacement process with natural vegetation and replanted trees.  Such common sense actions are seen as intervention by many and therefore nothing is done.

Are we Loving to Death?

This op-ed by James Cummings, Vice President of the Boone & Crockett Club gets right to the point.

“Love It to Death” is the third album by the Alice Cooper band, which was released in 1971. Loving it to death is how we, as a nation, seem to be treating much of our public lands, especially our national forests.

More people are engaging in and having a greater influence on natural resource issues than ever before. People want to do what is best, yet are not necessarily familiar with what that is. There is a growing belief that “letting nature take its course” with no human interference is the best philosophy for managing natural resources. Many people are mistakenly or intentionally calling this way of thinking conservation, though it is more closely aligned with preservation.