The Editor
The New York Times

Via email:

To the Editor,

Re: opening up the Sierra Nevada to more logging ("To Save the Forest, The Trees Must Go", Dec. 15), this is an obvious scam by the adminstration to get around regulations, since the science is already in. Study after study has shown that logging increases the risk of wildfires by loading up the forest floor with fuel and by drying out the understory.

In the temperate zones, as in the tropics, when the forest canopy is reduced, more sunlight reaches the understory and floor, thus turning what would normally be moist leaves, needles and plants into a tinderbox. As well, clearcutting leaves behind massive amounts of 'slash', the tops of trees, branches, leaves and needles that are left behind as the 'waste' of large-scale logging.

Over and over this has lead to disasterous fires here and in the tropics and study after study has shown that logging was the major precipitating factor.

Further, logging replaces the very trees that are more resistant to burning -- the massive old growth giants -- with young ones that go up like torches.

The best defense here against massive wildfires is allowing natural and frequent small-scale burning of healthy old-growth forests.


tim keating, director
Rainforest Relief
P.O. Box 150566
Brooklyn, NY 11215