Stewardship I'd support

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This letter is in response to last week’s Viewpoint that humans must act to make the forest healthy, “while we still have time.” The only reason Sparta Mountain has an intact forest now is because of time. It’s had almost a hundred years to grow back from the last logging. SM WMA is now a healthy forest that is supporting many species of birds, animals, reptiles, and amphibians that need a deep forest habitat to survive. What about them? NJ DEP and NJ Audubon are picking winners and losers with their plan! No offense, but Nature has done a great job of sorting this out for eons.

We hike in the Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area all the time. It now has many, many different complex and inter-related ecosystems from steep ridge line plant communities to bogs and wetlands, all supporting a great diversity of wildlife. It’s a healthy forest now — without punching holes in it to “improve” it or make it better. It’s all doing just fine without any “management” from humans whatsoever.

And let’s be frank. This is about commercial logging, not stewardship. If N.J. Audubon wants to practice this kind of ‘stewardship’ — it should on the 300+ acres that it privately owns on SM WMA. But leave the rest of it alone. And practice some real stewardship and clean up the garbage dumped there, monitor for invasive species, and how about planting new young trees where nature has created patches of blow-down (Superstorm Sandy) or an invading pest has taken out many trees (Sparta Glen). Now that’s stewardship I’d support.

Alana Steib

Stockholm, NJ

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