On December 31, 2019

Support all forestry interests

Dear Editor,

Vermont’s forest-based economy generates roughly $3.8 billion annually. This figure varies from year to year. A little less than half of that revenue is associated with the timber and maple industry. More than half is generated by forest-based recreation. Vermont currently incentivizes the timber side of the equation while doing very little for the  recreation side.

Vermont depends upon her forests to produce clean water, sequester carbon and provide habitat for a rich array of wildlife species. The values of these commonly-held (i.e. we the people hold them) elements is more than enough to justify programs such as UVA (Use Value Appraisal – commonly known as “Current Use”) that help keep forests as forests.

To suggest, as the recent article in Seven Days does, that Vermont forestry is the best on the planet is a bit of a stretch. Also, to suggest that we need to manage forests for timber while receiving carbon credits might be possible, but making the case in a credible and moderately-bureaucratic way will present challenges

As Sen. Ruth Hardy correctly said, there is no “one-size fits all” solution. In any event, the good news is that self-willed forest ecosystems still know how to sock away carbon without being actively controlled and managed as resources.

Vermont needs to be open to the full range of ecologically sustainable relationships and opportunities beyond the “timber as default scenario” that is in place. More emphasis should be placed on encouraging family forest owners to do well by their forests while meeting their ownership objectives and those of Vermont without breaking our public and private bank accounts.

More emphasis should be placed on conserving clean water, maintaining native wildlife species and reducing atmospheric carbon. The ecological functions and values of healthy forests serve, better than any other land cover, the common-pool assets of water, wildlife and air that all Vermonters hold and for which the State of Vermont is serving as trustee. Wild forests and worked forests can help in their own ways.

Manifesting new and improved relationships with Vermont’s forests is no small task. However, doing so now is essential as we head into a rapidly heating planet and the grips of a deepening climate crisis.

David Brynn,


Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

A public education Vermonters support and value

May 22, 2024
By Margaret MacLean Editor’s note: Margaret MacLean, from Peacham, has been an educator for 50 years, working as a teacher, school principal and consultant both in Vermont, the U.S. and internationally. Over the past 14 years Vermont has enacted three sweeping school district consolidation laws. The overarching goals of Act 153, Act 156, and Act…

Vermont’s lost submarine memorial

May 22, 2024
Dear Editor, At the Veteran Administration (VA) in White River Jct, VT, there is a distinct memorial dedicated to the Submarine USS Flier (SS 250) lost during World War II.  Ever mindful of our lost shipmates, friends and family that have served in the submarine service of our country, the U.S. Submarine Veterans, Inc. (USSVI)…

H.121 poses significant risk to Vermont’s business community

May 22, 2024
Dear Editor, As the CEO of the Vermont Country Store (VCS), I strongly support consumer privacy as does the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and many peer companies in the state. I wholeheartedly endorse the Connecticut law that was the foundation of H.121. However, as passed it is my hope that Governor Scott will veto H.121.…

Vermont’s outsize appetite for taxes

May 22, 2024
Dear Editor, Most Vermont taxpayers have just experienced a period of tax focus, specifically property taxes to support our public schools. Some communities are still going through the valuable public debate about property taxes and, more generally, the overall tax burden and trying to evaluate that relative to what we receive for our tax dollars.…