The Washington Post
Let old trees do their work
Chronically climate-concerned citizens cheered for President Biden’s Earth Day executive order recognizing mature and old-growth forests as essential to slowing climate change [“Biden to sign order that may lead to protections for nation’s oldest trees,” news, April 22]. But acknowledging the importance of these forests falls like the proverbial unheard tree unless we protect them.
Mature and old-growth trees are targets for cutting by timber companies, collaborating with the Forest Service. Both gain from a cut of the value of the harvests.
Science has established how mature and old trees suck up and store exponentially more carbon than seedlings touted by plant-a-trillion-trees fundraisers. It will take 80 to 100 years for those babies to accomplish in one day what one old mother tree does.
Climate change already causes chaos in storms, droughts, wildfires and floods. We don’t have decades to wait for new forests to grow big enough to make a difference. Let’s save the ones we have. It doesn’t cost us a penny to let them grow.
Lea Sloan, Tilghman Island, Md. The writer is a board member of the
Old-growth Forest Network.