Destructive hoarding of horses and trees
By Trent Loos
After the events in the past couple of weeks that have once again pitted rural against urban America, I am more convinced than ever that it is time for the “No Apologies” tour to begin.
I make no apology in understanding and teaching that “Everything lives, everything dies and death with a purpose gives full meaning to life.” I am here to tell you that because Uncle Sam cannot figure that out—he is causing unnecessary problems.
The horses and trees owned by the United States government need to be harvested and their populations need to be managed properly.
First, I just heard another report on the growing wild horse population owned by the U.S. government. Those of us who tend to land and livestock understand proper management and know that hard decisions must be made but once again we are afraid that if we say the wrong thing, it will hurt us.
Until we start loading up the wild horses and hauling them to Canada or Mexico for slaughter, we will not fix the problem. The government continues to say that they just need some more adoptions to take place. When the nation owns 100,000 horses and won’t kill them, the problem will never be fixed. There isn’t enough land or feed to maintain them in the manner they deserve to be kept.
Ironically, it seems to get even less attention, but the U.S. Government has the same issue with the trees they own. Reports indicate that in the past 20 years the logging on land owned by the federal government has been reduced by 75 percent.
In the United States as a whole, we have 751 million acres of forest land. That represents a full 1/3 of the total land mass of the United States.
The great tree growing state of Oregon reports that in 1990, 48 percent of the timber cut for the lumber and wood products industry came from public lands. Over time, restrictions took a toll, and the harvest from public lands in Oregon dwindled to 18 percent by 2007.
But here is the problem. Over the last 50 years, the volume of trees growing on U.S. forestland has increased 49 percent. Everybody wants to see and understands the need for a healthy tree population, but the lack of management does not make that happen.
What happens when a population is too large regardless of whether it is trees or horses?
A single tree consumes up to 11,000 gallons of water a year. If you take the accelerated growth of trees times 11,000 gallons of water, what would that do for water availability in the arid regions of our country where water disputes are taking place?
Outbreaks of forest insect pests damage some 86 million acres of forest annually, primarily in the temperate and boreal zone. The mountain pine beetle has devastated more than 27 million acres of forest in the western United States and Canada since the late 1990s, and yet you will see continued rhetoric about “climate change” as the problem.
Let’s not forget the thousands of acres of forests that have been destroyed by fire fueled by poor management, and think of the homes and lives that were also lost.
A resource that is not used cannot be considered a resource. In fact, I would contend that the old saying about saving a tree and using less paper has contributed to the destruction of our healthy forests. We have an ample supply of both horses and trees that should be harvested for higher and better use. It is high time we help the uninformed public understand that the hoarding activities our government has put into place are in no way, shape or form beneficial to the planet.
Let’s get this “No Apologies” tour on the road and start combining proper management with the appropriate use of natural resources to the benefit of all.
Editor’s note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.FacesOfAg.com, or email Trent at firstname.lastname@example.org.