Magazine article American Forests


Magazine article American Forests


Article excerpt


editor: I really enjoyed your new feature highlighting notable trees ( In Profile, " Spring 2000). The sycamore is one of my favorite trees, and it was good reading. I liked the format and hope you will continue until you have profiled all North American trees.

Jack Bates

Eau Claire, Wisconsin


editor: Jane Braxton Little's "Flowing from Forests to Faucets," (Spring 2000) does not accurately give credit where credit is due.

The Cedar River watershed has a nearly 100-year history of producing municipal and industrial water with a sustainable forest management program and without costly filtration. In fact, Allen E. Thompson described the program in American Forests in the early 1950s. That program continued until the mid-1980s, when harvesting timber, particularly on public lands, became portrayed as a sin, and habitat protection became popular among preservation-minded people.

Using the Endangered Species Act as justification, these special interests politicized the long-established professional and successful management program for the Cedar River watershed. In the current political climate, I share in advocating for the watershed as an ecological reserve and recognize that such a change in management objectives is a political decision. But the outcome of Seattle's "public" decision process is an unnecessarily expensive and restricted Habitat Conservation Plan detrimental to the city and its water rate payers.

It is unfortunate that the critical topic of forests and waters should be treated as superficially and inaccurately as it was in the article. The role' of special interests in determining the program was seriously understated. Fortunately, their mistakes are often tempered by the dynamics of natural processes. Thank God.

Joe E. Monahan

Retired Director of Watersheds


editor: Thank you for the fine article in the spring issue ("Connecticut's Identification Guru, " National Register). But I wonder about that alleged tulip poplar at Mt. Vernon ("Witness to History, "Spring 2000). It's kind of fun conjecturing what it is, but it is definitely not a tulip poplar. Most likely, it is an American elm, possibly a hickory, of which the best candidate would be the pignut, Carga glabra. But I may be way off base.

Ed Richardson

Glastonbury, Connecticut

editor's response: Thanks to those sharp-eyed readers who correctly ID'd the Mt. Vernon tree as an American elm. The tree was described by the photo agency as a tulip poplar and after a review in-house, we decided to go with their ID. Next time, we'll call Ed!


editor: I take issue with some points in the Spring 2000 issue. The juxtaposition of the story of Julia "Butterfly" Hill crusading to save a large tree ("Clippings") with the National Register of Big Trees highlights a truly dangerous tendency in modern America. Often we equate large trees with old-growth and assume "larger" means "older." That mistake has caused some very damaging management decisions at a national level. While salvaging timber leveled by Hurricane Floyd, I found two black spruce side by side. One was 16 inches at the stump; the other was 5 inches. The smaller one was more than 150 years older!

The ad facing the Register depicts a child in a park-like redwood grove-- with not one stick of regeneration in sight. No matter how popular such a vista may be with focus groups, it does not depict a healthy forest. …

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