Days prior to leaving the Oval Office, Trump signed an order lifting the protection rule covering a large portion of public land in the Pacific Northwest. The order had in effect removed more than 3 million acres of land in the Oregon coast, out of the protection provided by the Northwest Forest Plan, particularly in protecting the habitats of several endangered forest animals like the northwest spotted owl.
Civic organizations have noted that Trump’s four-year term as president has made public land management, largely favorable to timber groups that supported his presidency.
The lifting of the protection rule was actually Trump’s parting gift to several timber businesses represented by the American Forest Resources Council (AFRC), Travis Joseph, president of AFRC said the lifting of the rule will restore balance on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ management of public lands and species conservations in the Pacific Northwest
Actually, the Trump administration’s track record on public land management and protection of the environment has been assessed by the Center for American Progress (CAP) as the worst in the history of land management in the U.S.
The nonprofit organization estimates that under Trump’s leadership, nearly 35 million acres of public lands lost protection. According to the report,
“The scale of degradation occurring in the nation’s natural heritage is incredibly concerning, since public lands are regarded as a resource, which if destroyed would be gone forever.”
The Significance of Proper Public Land Management
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Public is supposed to oversee the management of public lands, by imposing forest management rules that take into consideration the protected areas.
It promotes forest management logging, which aims to restore forest health by allowing new plants to grow and adapt to the existing ecosystem. While forest management allows the opening of ecosystems to logging activities, the agency does so with a view that forests will benefit from logging activities. Such benefits include the removal of non-native species that take over habitats, as well as the removal of forest litter that poses as fuel for devastating wildfires.
Businesses engaged in logging provide the materials needed by humans such as the lumber used for building constructions, for furniture and various architectural millworks, and fuel used in homes. However, under proper public land management, protected sites do not allow clearcutting, which are logging activities carried out mainly for the purpose of harvesting wood and other forest products; or for clearing out spaces to be used for commercial development projects.
Clearcutting results in serious negative impact on the environment not only on the habitats of birds and other wildlife creatures. Proper public land management ensures that clearcutting does not take place near stream banks as removing the trees in those areas increases the occurrence of erosion, which subsequently results in flooding.
Most important of all is that through proper land management, deforestation will be prevented. Deforestation after all is one of the factors that has been driving climate changes. Trees play an important role by absorbing some of the free flowing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which helps reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that have been intensifying the global warming phenomenon.
Global warming as scientists have warned us, has already resulted in climate changes, which we now experience in the form of heat waves and other intense natural weather disturbances that have been causing greater damages, including loss of lives.
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Needless to say, any negative impact arising out of improper public land management, will in the long run, also adversely affect other businesses that rely on timber and sawn wood products