By DENA EAKLES | rural Ontario
For anyone not paying attention: The earth is undergoing traumatic change. We’re having one of our driest years. A few years back, the waters raged. These are the fluctuations predicted for us. Our terrain gives way to a downward flow, but history has informed us trees and grasses play a significant role in slowing the floodwaters when they do arrive.
Wood is at a premium right now. And taking down mature forests makes sense to the pocketbook, but little sense when we consider the advantages of trees. Trees give us oxygen and improve the air we breathe. They sequester carbon, preserve soil, conserve water and support wildlife. Not to mention the joy of a swing and other childhood memories they provide.
I’m not a gambler, but taking into account the climate swings we are experiencing, odds are pretty good that we will have some heavy rains and flooding in the not-too-distant future. People living in valleys are particularly aware of the dangers of fast-moving run-off.
If you’ve driven around lately, you can see that short-term gain is winning and old-growth trees are coming down. The mills are loaded, and “useless” treetops are an ugly sight on our hillsides. While I understand the need to survive financially, I must wonder why we cannot find better ways.
I know I will hear, “I can do what I want with my land.” Unfortunately, that is true. No one can make anyone care about consequences to wildlife or to the future of our grandchildren’s children and what they will inherit. But we can try.
Every January, Vernon County Land and Water Conservation offers a sapling sale. Plant a few. It’s not a solution to the destruction but may lessen the loss of desperately needed trees.