- - Sunday, June 24, 2018

Nicolas Loris makes a strong case for state management and control of energy extraction on federal lands (“Let the states manage resources on federal lands,” Web, June 18). The headline really caught my attention, as I thought the op-ed was referring to all federal lands. Instead it discussed energy production on federal lands. I was hoping that the national forests would be mentioned. State management of the national forests has been proposed as a model to promote healthy forests, support rural economies and fund rural schools. State-managed forests have a record of substantially larger per-acre, harvested-timber volumes, with significantly larger per-acre revenues that help support local economies.

National forests are about a lot more than timber, but there is no reason they should not be at least self-supporting. More importantly, forest management that includes timber harvesting promotes healthy forests that can better survive insect and disease attacks. Healthy forests are less apt to create wild fire hazards. Plus, timber harvesting can reduce the fuel load in forests prone to wild fires.

Management of the national forests in the West has become a critical problem. Some local economies near the forests have been devastated. There is strong evidence that state management would create healthier forests, enhanced economic development and fewer headlines about wild fires in the region.


Professor of forestry, Clemson University

Clemson, S.C.

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