America Was a Little Slow to Notice but it’s Not Too Late…

North American forests began their decline when Europeans viewed trees as something to exploit. Land was cleared for farming, wood was for ships and home building. Fortunes were made selling American lumber to Europe. About 1681, a well-known American historical figure, William Penn saw that the colonists were insensitive and unwise about their forest practices. The Indians had been here for thousands of years and saw nature in a different light. William Penn must have seen that same light because he required his colony (Pennsylvania) to save an acre of forest for every five acres logged. Unfortunately, this requirement was ignored. But ten years later, in 1691, Britain understood the seriousness of clear-cutting New England and enacted a law that all of Massachusetts’s white pines were to be saved for British ship masts. That didn’t work too well either, it only angered the colonists, who resented English rule. Probably many a white pine was downed in defiance to the monarchy. It wasn’t until 1876 that Congress created the Division of Forestry. Compare this with Switzerland. They have preserved a forest called Sihlwald Forest since 1291. And France started preserving their forests in the early 1700s. Planting trees to replace those logged has been a practice of Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany for many years. It’s almost impossible to imagine that in North Africa, the Middle East and some parts of Asia, where the desert is now, was once a thick, beautiful forest. Not only do tree roots hold water but trees create their own environment and draw precipitation. They bring the rain. Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

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2 thoughts on “America Was a Little Slow to Notice but it’s Not Too Late…

  1. Thank you for your statement – so clear, “Where the desert is now was once a beautiful forest.” Go to OnceAForest.org if you can, and read about what is happening in NM. Where are you?

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