December 2, 2011
New Hampshire and Deforestation
Many people today see New Hampshire as a woods infested state with so much beautiful nature and an incredible amount plants, lakes, and wild life. Most people who live here think there is so much forests that when deforestation occurs, they believe it doesn’t pose a threat or make a dent. The Granite State has been a victim of deforestation for many years and it has believed to be getting worse every year but to a larger group, it has been actually getting better. Could it be turning into a problem today or a bigger problem in the future? Is deforestation becoming a problem for New Hampshire?
New Hampshire, with 78.4% forest cover, is currently the second most forested state in the country with Maine being the first. However, the forest cover has been steadily declining since the 1980s. “This loss is about 17,500 acres per year, mostly due to land development” and “Every day, the average person in the USA will consume about 4.5 pounds of wood, that's a little over a third of a two-by-four. Over the course of a year, that adds up to a 16-18" tree, a hundred feet tall” (Forest Service). Each year, the nation plants more than 5 new trees for each American. Wood is a renewable resource. As long as forests are not converted by development, harvesting trees does not result in an increase of carbon in the atmosphere. Today there are certain foundations and things to do to prevent deforestation. Although we need wood to cut down for certain things, we plant three trees for every tree we cut down. This is called the 3 to 1 Ratio by Society Protecting New Hampshire Forest’s. About one hundred years ago the White Mountains didn’t look so well according to the many photographs taken of the mountain sides stripped of all the trees of what was once a virgin forest. The forest wasn’t looking so well with the “streams choked with silt from eroding hillsides, and ash from forest fires falling on nearby towns” (Govatski 2009). Factory owners had to deal with the floods after too much rain and then the droughts in the summer. Hotel owners weren’t getting any customers from the looks of things and complaints and by the twentieth century, “a growing consensus between widely diverse interests was building that something had to be done in the White Mountains” (Govatski 2009). With still much interest in the eastern mountains, a Congressional action engaged at the turn of the last century to put off forest preserves in the massive areas of public domain land in the West. Still a lot of people form the East pursued ways to create such Forests. It mostly just focused on the southern Appalachians and the White Mountains. After a lot of failed presentations, many New England and Eastern organizations worked together to obtain an act introduced by Congressman John W. Weeks of Massachusetts. The Weeks Act was passed on Feb. 15th of 1911, signed by President Taft, which authorized “Federal purchase of forest lands at the head of navigable streams. The Act also provided for cooperation in fire control between federal and state authorities” (Govatski 2009). The Weeks Act was believed to have put in action when the “textile mills and rivers were starting to get polluted” (Pruyn). In an interview with Michele Pruyn at PSU, she noted that because of this water pollution and loss of tourists really woke a lot of New Hampshire people and the State and Federal Government. “This Weeks Act allowed the Federal and State Government to control all deforestation in NH” (Pruyn). Now that they were in charge of the forests, private land owners and factory owners were not allowed to cut wherever they wanted to or cut as many trees as they wanted. The Government had to look it over and enforce the 3 to 1 ratio rule and ban cutting near rivers and lakes because of water pollution. By cutting trees near water, debris could then easily get into the water and the air would...