Full Chisel Blog

May 16, 2012

An Open Letter to the President, and the Congress of the United States of America

Filed under: Of Interest,Restoration,Trees,Uncategorized,Wood — Stephen Shepherd @ 2:56 pm


There is a real problem out here in the West and its solution can benefit the entire country.  There are over 360 million acres of Conifer Forests and over 40 million acres have been killed by the Red Death [bark beetle, pine needle borer] and they are expanding.  We are losing a great national natural resource, and it will get worse if nothing is done.

You and you alone could put hundreds of thousands of people to work to conserve the forests and convert the massive amount of standing dead trees into usable reasonably priced building materials.  The slash could be inexpensive firewood, mulch, and converted to alcohol.  There is also a great resource available from the pitch and sap exuding from both living and dead trees for turpentine and varnish production, not relying on limited fossil fuels.

While the process of removing the dead trees and their conversion to usable materials and stores will have an impact upon the environment, doing nothing is far more egregious.  The process of cleaning up all of the potential fuel will also lessen wild fire danger; making the forest healthy to resist future fires and infestations.

These forests are an important part of the Earth’s biomass that sequesters CO2 and produces oxygen.  They will only be a renewable resource if they survive.  And they are beautiful; please preserve them for future generations to enjoy.

Stephen Arden Shepherd



  1. Well said! But is anyone in Washington (or state capitals) listening?

    Comment by Dennis Laney — May 16, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

  2. What exactly are you advocating? Wholesale logging of the western forests to save them from the beetles?

    Comment by Matthew — May 16, 2012 @ 10:45 pm

  3. Dennis,
    Thank you I hope someone listens.

    Not quite but if nothing is done the forests will not be there, and they are in such bad shape because of what people have done preventing forest fires. It would be selective not wholesale logging, unless we wait for them to all die.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — May 17, 2012 @ 7:22 am

  4. The beetle problem is in no small part due to shifts in climate here in the west. Fire suppression efforts as well have played a part. I’m not so convinced however, that the answer lies in increasing the logging rates or volumes. It’s a complex issue – much ,ore complex than your letter belies.

    Comment by Matthew — May 17, 2012 @ 7:21 pm

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