The Washington Post

Let old trees do their work

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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.

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