The age old idiom, "Can't see the forest for the trees" has been the motto for the management of our national forest for the last 30 years. We have turned from managing our nation's most valuable asset, the trees, to that of "ecosystem management" at the cost of the health of the forests themselves.
Our National Forest Management has overlooked the health of the trees to benefit all other aspects of the forest.
We must recognize the following in the management of our national forests: We can take a plant species out of the forest and it is still a forest, we can take an animal species out of the forest and it is still a forest, we can take humans out of the forest and it is still a forest. We cannot take the trees out of a forest and still have a forest!
It is very ironic that the forest management policy of our national forests is led by those who reside in areas where the forests have disappeared because of development or who are supported by federal money to "study" the forest, however those who understand their role as being part of the forest have little influence on that policy.
We must prioritize the management of trees in our national forests. We must "see the trees for the forest" or we will lose the forest itself.
Lifelong forest resident/forester/town chairman, Town of Laona, Forest County, Wis.