Friday, November 5, 2021

Time's up: Wisconsin should break its chainsawing habits.

Tree hugging is in vogue these days - though in key circles belatedly and lackadaisically -  

COP26: World leaders promise to end deforestation by 2030

Experts welcomed the move, but warned a previous deal in 2014 had "failed to slow deforestation at all" and commitments needed to be delivered on. 

- as our endangered planet is now regularly losing life-sustaining forests at an alarming rate:

California's Dixie Fire is burning its way toward the record books as it nears the devastating milestone of one million acres scorched. 

So back at home, is it too much to expect the WI DNR and WI Natural Resources Board - 

Some of actual acreage in Kohler Andrae State Park on which state officials agreed a proposed privately-owned golf course can construct a road and maintenance building.

- plus other governmental agencies statewide and the State Supreme Court get serious about protecting trees and woodlands instead of cutting them down?

Trees are nature's air & water filters, but a WI project could cut down thousands
And so I return again to the proposed grading and cutting proposed for the privately-owned 247-acre nature preserve adjoining Kohler Andrae State Park along Sheboygan County's Lake Michigan's shoreline dunes.
Because that's where the number of trees scheduled for removal during two years of projected construction - trees not beset by disease or pests or any natural event - has been estimated roughly at between 30,000-to-45,000, according to a November, 2018 document created by Roger Miller, a local engineer.

Letter explaining the Biological Aspects of the proposed golf course, by Roger Miller 

Based on a quick density count viewing into the edges of the upland forest area of Kohler Company’s 247 acre parcel in Section 14 along the Lake Michigan shoreline in the Town of Wilson, I estimate the number of trees of greater than 6” trunk diameter to be roughly in the range of 50,000 to 70,000.  
Kohler’s grading plan for the golf course included on DNR’s website shows that about 63% of that upland forest gets re-graded, which would necessarily remove about 30,000 to 45,000 trees, as a rough estimate, having trunks greater than 6” diameter....

There’s also another aspect that seldom gets recognized; bulldozing the rhizome (shallow soil-microbe— fungi-root zone) of the wooded uplands disrupts a complexly interacting environment that takes a long time to develop. This provides virtual “communication” via enzymes, carbohydrate, and mineral exchanges amongst all components of the living surface of the land that ultimately affects plants and tress as well as the mobile insect, animal, and bird components of an ecosystem. 
This forest is now about 150 years past it being last lumbered out, although I recall there are some specimen oaks and white pines that may be older. So this area has likely acquired much of the functionality of “old growth....”

So the primary adverse effects on the environment of upland deforestation is the loss of quantity and diversity of habitat. This includes the loss of upland ecologic functions critical for the ecologic function of the adjacent wetlands that are not being filled. The golf course plan shows massive grading and deforestation and replacement with fairways right along the edge of great lengths of wetland along the Black River. 

You can find the letter at a website belonging to Friends of the Black River Forest, here.

Miller is also the current chair of the Town of Wilson planning commission

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