We need to leave trees standing
The U.S. Forest Service wants to cut down trees and remove native shrubs in the backcountry north of where we live. They claim that doing so will make our wildlands healthier and better prepared for a fire. I do not believe this to be true.
What I know is that the higher elevation areas in the Los Padres National Forest like Pine Mountain and Mount Pinos support vast areas of large trees and old growth native shrubs such as manzanita.
In addition, these mountains have multiple camping areas and hiking trails that are enjoyed by many who love the outdoors.
The Forest Service wants to use heavy machinery to remove thousands of trees and nearby shrubs they rely on for soil health from these mountains. They call this forest thinning. I call it logging because that is what it is. Logging does not make our forest healthier; it actually makes it drier by reducing forest shade canopy and increases the presence of fast burning non-native grasses.
I’m gravely concerned about climate change as it will impact my child. I know that leaving our forest intact provides critical wildlife habitat and stores carbon. Conversely, logging our forest exacerbates climate change due to the burning of fossil fuels to drive heavy equipment, transport logs to distant facilities that burn them as biofuel to generate electricity, and burning of “slash piles” that are created when removing shrubs and trees. These destructive projects are funded by our tax dollars that should be redirected to expansion of clean energy options like wind and solar.
Scientists tell us that we must increase forested areas on our planet to address climate change. Our next local climate right step is to leave the trees in our publicly owned forest standing, not cut them down.
Christi Lester, Ventura
Worried about the national debt
As I hear President Biden lecture about spending money for so many things but not mentioning our great national debt, which is borrowed money of over $22 trillion as of today. How many people realize who we owe that much to? And how much more will need to be added to the national debt to meet the glorious future he promises?
At present, our debt is split among five countries: Japan, China, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Luxembourg.
Japan is the largest holder of the U.S. debt. As of April 2020, we owe them $1.266 trillion in Treasury holdings. This is the largest since 2013. China has only $1.07 trillion in Treasury holdings. This is the lowest level in the last two years. The United Kingdom has a lower ownership at $368 billion. Ireland has $300 billion of the U.S. debt. Last is Luxembourg with only $267.8 billion owed them.
Frankly, I am bit frightened about borrowing still more. I am concerned about paying my property tax. Our national debt has to go even higher when we have several hundred thousand new people looking for funds to live here, and our continued problem with homeless.
Just as I was learning Spanish, I may now have to work on Japanese or maybe Chinese. How about you?
Dr. Irv Croshier, Newbury Park
This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: Letters: Forest Service must keep trees; national debt is big problem