Predictably, the timber industry sings the praises of the Private Forest Accord (SB 1602), which allows virtually unchecked the continued vast clearcutting/strip-mining, aerial poison spraying, road-making, erosion and pollution of entire Oregon watersheds. With the blessing of complicit “environmental” groups, the timber industry has successfully redefined the word “forest” to mean a sterile monoculture plantation managed with poisons and synthetic fertilizers instead of a vastly complex, self-sustaining multi-species community of mosses, lichens, fungi, ferns, insects, worms, birds, fish, mammals and, oh, yes, trees in great and glorious variety.
A sop to enabling legislators, the accord’s much-touted buffer zones are as unenforceable as the wind that carries aerially sprayed poisons for miles, with no monitoring required. Furthermore, the accord’s preposterous “state-of-the-art” system to notify victims of nearby poison spraying simply gives industry license to kill and injure people so long as they notify them first.
This is far more than an environmental issue: The destruction of real forests is a major driver of ongoing climate change, and the poisons used to manage monocultures are known to weaken our immune systems, making us more vulnerable to COVID-19 and other pandemics that will surely follow. For the sake of our climate as well as for public health, our governor and legislators and so-called environmental groups should be championing real forest preservation instead of profiteering timber management schemes.
Carol Van Strum