When I can draw a rebuttal from a forester regarding evolving logging practices, I feel validated ("Mechanization not at fault for timber reductions," The Daily Astorian, April 23). I must be onto something.

The management of public perceptions has been, and still is crucial to sustaining the harvest levels we codified nearly 50 years ago under the Oregon Forest Practices Act. It was a different world then, yet so little has changed, except the need for a thorough review of harvest levels, given emerging climate crises.

Mechanization is undeniably behind plummeting employment in the logging industry. There is a method to their madness. By any means, saving time and shaving labor costs is very good business. Time is money, and money is why the mountains are naked.

Profits are based upon frequent harvest rotations. If the public were to know harvest frequency, plantation age classes and stocking inventories, or what might the county-wide annual harvest be on public and private forests, and what proportion of this total goes to domestic sawmills versus what amount goes for export, would this knowledge even matter to the general public?

No worries, it's none of our business. This proprietary information is the domain of the bean-counters and other professionals. Publicity might be upsetting, and not reflect well on what the ownership so charitably calls our "working" forests. These are "our" forests and we are stakeholders only when it suits them.

An update of the Oregon Forest Practices Act is critical today in the face of mounting evidence of climate change. If not now, when?

GARY DURHEIM

Seaside

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