Press-Republican

In My Opinion

April 1, 2013

In My Opinion: New York forests need help regenerating

Recent studies by Cornell University and The Nature Conservancy concluded that up to 70 percent of our state’s forestland is not regenerating.

Since our current second-growth forests are entering the last quarter of their life cycle, this is a problem that should concern every New Yorker.

Our forests provide critical services to the ecosystem, including the purification and holding of water and the prevention of soil erosion. A single mature tree can sequester 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and produce enough oxygen to meet the needs of two people.

Forests provide habitat for countless species of wildlife and recreational opportunities and aesthetic values that contribute to our quality of life.

Forests also provide important economic benefits to the state. The forest-products industry employs more than 60,000 people and contributes almost $9 billion per year to the state’s gross annual product. Forests cover 65 percent of our state; losing them would be unimaginable.

Most of our current forests developed when farmland was abandoned starting in the late 1800s. During the last half of the 20th century, in the absence of natural predators, deer populations exploded to levels far exceeding the carrying capacity of the forest. In many woodlands, the deer consumed the entire understory of the forest, including seedlings of desirable tree species.

In some cases, the natural understory has been replaced by undesirable vegetation not eaten by deer, and this vegetation is so well established that it prevents the germination of tree seeds.

Aggressive management action will be required to address this problem before the seed trees are gone. Deer populations will have to be significantly reduced in some areas, or the deer will have to be fenced out of woodlands where forest regeneration is being attempted — an expensive alternative. Broad use of EPA-approved forest herbicides will be necessary to control interfering vegetation. Heavy thinning of the existing forest may be required to admit sufficient sunlight to establish the future forest.

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In My Opinion
  • In My Opinion Follow Vt. lead on prescription drugs

    Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin recently called attention to a national crisis when he dedicated his entire State of the State message to address what he called Vermont's "full-blown heroin crisis," writes John Coppola of New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers Inc.

    March 12, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Rail companies must take action

    I write to commend emergency response officials in Essex County for taking a proactive approach to the increasing number of freight trains carrying crude oil through our communities on the Canadian Pacific line, as described in the Feb, 23 article, "Essex County developing disaster-response plans as rail traffic grows," writes Rep. Bill Owens.

    March 4, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Communal energy conservation urged

    Recently, several articles appeared in the Press-Republican about the City of Plattsburgh's electric rates and energy policies, writes SUNY Plattsburgh assistant professor Curt Gervich.

    March 3, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Support gave boost to broadcasting

    As many of you know, this is my 40th and final year of broadcasting Plattsburgh State Cardinal Hockey, writes WIRY broadcaster Ducky Drake.

    February 20, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Prison closures will increase danger

    In January, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision released its annual report on the state of New York's prisons, writes NYSCOPBA President Donn Rowe.

    February 18, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Everyone must commit to end smoking

    Smoking-related illnesses will cause 5.6 million children alive today to die prematurely unless smoking rates drop, the latest Surgeon General's Report says, write no-smoking advocates Glenn Pareira and Kendra Gertsch.

    February 12, 2014

  • In My Opinion: The right approach to youth sports

    Another youth basketball season is upon us, writes Town of Ellenburg Youth Director Chris Brooks. Local counties do a great job of organizing these leagues for our children to be able to participate and learn skills at a young age.

    January 8, 2014

  • In My Opinion: Fair evacuation plan needs review

    A year has come and gone with another great professional job done by our Clinton County Fair management, putting on its best yet entertainment.

    January 7, 2014

  • In My Opinion: New care models for aging population

    Our communities are experiencing a growing percentage of older residents, who are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to health-care decisions, according to the administrators of local nursing homes.

    December 24, 2013

  • In My Opinion: Respect diversity of gender November is Transgender Awareness Month across the United States -- a time to celebrate the diversity of gender that many Americans, and especially many New Yorkers, share.

    November 25, 2013