Magazine article Sierra

Ten Reasons to Protect Our National Forests. (Lay of the Land)

Magazine article Sierra

Ten Reasons to Protect Our National Forests. (Lay of the Land)

Article excerpt

(1) TO BOOST THE ECONOMY. Recreation, hunting, and fishing produce 88 percent of the $145 billion generated by our national forests. Timber sales provide only 2.7 percent--and because taxpayer money is used to subsidize these sales, the logging program operates at a net loss.

(2) TO PREVENT FOREST FIRES. Commercial logging can increase the risk of disastrous blazes by removing large, fire-resistant trees and leaving behind highly flammable piles of debris. Human-caused fires are also more common where logging roads provide forest access.

(3) TO SAFEGUARD OUR WATER SUPPLY. Eighty percent of U.S. rivers originate in national forests, providing $3.7 billion worth of clean drinking water each year to 60 million people in 38 states. Increased logging, roadbuilding, grazing, and development would foul this water with sediment and pollutants.

(4) TO AVOID LANDSLIDES AND FLOODS. More than 400,000 miles of roads, built mostly to facilitate logging, cut through our national forests. As the roads age and become less stable, they increase the risk of landslides. Clearcutting and roadbuilding also contribute to floods by reducing the ability of hillsides to absorb heavy rains.

(5) THEY'RE FULL OF LIFE. Our national forests harbor more than 3,000 species offish and wildlife and 10,000 species of plants. Logging and roadbuilding fragments--or destroys--their habitat.

(6) FOR RECREATION. National forests and grasslands contain 133,087 miles of trails, 4,418 miles of wild and scenic rivers, 4,300 campgrounds, 1,496 picnic sites, and 140 swimming areas. …

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