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Logging Mohican a concern to reader

To the editor,
Mohican-Memorial State Forest area receives hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The forest does not need these humans, but humans need these forests. Forests not only provide us oxygen, remove air pollutants and are critically needed for a healthy water cycle, but also they provide us a place for peace, beauty, solitude and wonder. There is no monetary value that can be placed on the healing aspects of nature for humans who are more stressed, over-burdened and distracted than ever.
New studies about "forest bathing" are showing that a walk in the forest can improve one's mood, reduce stress hormones, strengthen the immune system, lower blood pressure and reduce blood sugar levels.
The Ohio Division of Natural Resources Division of Forestry "manages" Mohican Forest. Management techniques include logging, thinning, burning, planting and spraying. Management can be done in various ways for various reasons, but more often than not, the "management" is to grow timber for wood products that results in a small financial gain relative to the damage done to the forest.
If you pay attention to the various privately owned in our area, you'll notice there is almost continuous logging being done. Often this wood is shipped to China. Ninety-seven percent of Ohio's forests are privately owned, leaving the remaining three percent as public land for "we" the people to enjoy. We have a voice as to how we want these forests managed.
Due to human over management, most of Ohio's original forests were cleared for agriculture, resulting in erosion and a decrease in fertility. In the Mohican area in the 1930s, the personnel of the Civilian Conservation Corps replanted plantations of white and red pines in order to attempt to repair the damage humans had done to the land. Nearly 90 years later we have a say in the management of this public land for us and future generations.
One easily accessible piece of evidence of this "management" is the total clearing of the stand of pines that was at the gorge overlook. If you read ODNR's annual management plan for this year, there are plans to cut and sell two plots of white pines: one 23 acres and the other 17 acres, which is approximately the size of 40 football fields.
Even with the "strictest standards" followed in this "disturbance activity," the results are soil compaction, destruction of the native plant species and seed bank, loss of mature forest habitat for animals, and the introduction of invasive plants such as multiflora rose, Japanese knotweed and garlic mustard — to name a few — due to soil disruption.
ODNR has proposed an addendum to the five-year Management Plan that includes a rezoning of the forest, which allows "management" of previously untouchable pieces of mature forest. Is this to allow more "disturbance activity" for financial gain in timber sales?
In order to ever regain old growth, a forest must have escaped destruction for a long enough period of time to allow natural biological and ecosystem functions to be the dominant influence. Forests have always been capable of reproducing and maintaining themselves. They do not need the "management" of humans, as we are what have caused so much of the destruction of mature forest's ecosystems and loss of biodiversity.
In Joan Maloof's book, "Nature's Temples," she says, "The Committee for the Conservation of Threatened Animals and Plants in Finland noted that in their nation the cause for decline of most animals, plants and fungi is intensive forest management. Of the species that have become locally extinct, loss of habitat due to logging is cited as the main reason in a third of the cases."
We may get more timber, hence money, from a managed Mohican Forest by the Division of Forestry, but we will not get a forest with greater biodiversity. As most of us know, the diversity of life is rapidly being depleted due to human actions.
Our true riches reside in these woods being left untouched for Mother Nature to manage on her own without intervention. Future generations will thank us for protecting these few remaining places of refuge, both for us humans and every other living plant and animal species sharing this planet with us.
Please take the time to write or email ODNR-Division of Forestry with your comments/concerns about the current management plan and the addendum rezoning the forest before Sept. 30, so your voice can be heard. Thank you.
ODNR-Division of Forestry, 952-B Lima Ave., Findlay, OH 43840
Kevin Clark

Published: September 11, 2017
New Article ID: 2017170909955