Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Surprising Pollution Problem: Too Many Trees (Op-Ed)

The Wallow Fire on June 8, captured by Jayson Coil, a firefighter with the Southwest Area Incident Management Team.

  

Back in 1981, President Ronald Reagan caused an uproar when he warned that trees "cause more pollution than automobiles do." Go ahead, snicker. I sure did. But recently I discovered that he was actually right (albeit for all the wrong reasons).

Today, our Western forests — from the Rockies to the mountains of the Sierra Nevada — are loaded with several billion excess trees. This is the unintended consequence of a longstanding federal policy, symbolized by Smokey Bear, to stamp out forest fires.

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