Native forests are as diverse as native rangelands or any other healthy ecosystem.
Like rangelands, forests produce oxygen, sequester carbon, provide wildlife habitat and play a role in the water cycle.
As a source of lumber and wood products such as paper, much of our forest land particularly through the southeast has been converted to a monoculture of softwood pines, managed under industrial systems. It has produced a glut of softwood and timber stands that are in declining health.
In national forests, the mixed timber stands tend to suffer from benign neglect. Bowing to pressure from outside groups with little understanding of nature’s processes, the forest managers “preserve” the forests by simply leaving them alone. Lack of thinning, a proliferation of undergrowth make them the forests prime targets for disease and uncontrolled fire.
Forests, like rangelands, benefit from managers who consider the big picture and manage for balance.