~~ by David H Seastrom, BCH co-producer and unabashed tree-hugger
This Saturday, my wife Becky and I are hosting a group of concerned citizens who will survey the marked forest behind our house. This survey is part of the Forest Guardians program designed to bring more information to the public about the Department of Natural Resources’ deforestation plan.
In using the term “deforestation,” I’m wading into the semantics surrounding this debate.
I consider forestland to be undisturbed, unbroken, and contiguous, with trees that are allowed to mature. It supports habitat for plants and animals native to the area, creating an environment that occurs naturally, without human management.
We might use the term “wild forest lands.” The state, on the other hand, is creating tree farms and calling it forestland. The difference is obvious. A natural system supports diversity of life, prevents erosion and flooding, creates carbon sequestration, and provides a sanctuary for Hoosiers who love the woods.
The new state plan does none of these things. At the expense of promoting life, it grosses three million dollars per year. We have no idea what the state nets—it won’t tell us.
This goes to the heart of the philosophic difference: does one see the forest as a living entity, or is it merely another commodity to be used and discarded when the money is harvested?
The Forest Guardians believe this plan is not how Hoosiers want their forest managed. We’re spreading the word, and the Forest Guardians will provide real information for anyone who wants more understanding.
David H Seastrom, long-time resident of Brown County, is a writer, boat-builder, story-teller, grandchild enthusiast, canine supporter, retired carpenter, jewelry artist and bus driver. These days Dave works tirelessly as co-producer and primary voice of the Brown County Hour… and is an unabashed tree-hugger. Known for his life-long study and encyclopedic recollection of local, regional and world history, Dave is never at a loss for words (just ask his wife, Becky Stapf, also a gifted voice talent for BCH), and contributes mightily to the good camaraderie enjoyed by the Brown County Hour team during our meetings and other activities. He is also known for his awesome hair and mustache, which he swears is a result of his decidedly Scandinavian descent. Maybe he’s right.