Letters: ‘Passive’ forest management is another option

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You see it all the time. Financial firms like Schwab, e-Trade, Fisher and Fidelity are always telling you stories about how they can help you with your money. Maybe some of those firms have internal accounts and they do with them what they please. But when it is your money, they listen to you.

Imagine if I told one of these financial firms that I wanted to hold U.S. bonds to balance my more “growth oriented” holdings. Imagine if they told me I could not do that. I would change firms.

The Division of Forestry relies solely on its methods. I will not debate the foundation of their approach to a healthy forest because it certainly is a solid way to look at forest health. However, passive forest management has a place too, just like bonds.

In Indiana, any balanced approach to forest management in the state forests is unacceptable to the Division of Forestry. Officials there say things like, “If you want passive management, look in the parks.” They act like the forests belong to them alone, not the people.

And that might be more tolerable if the Division of Forestry were financially successful. After 70 years, they are on average selling timber at below market prices, and they must sell even more timber to make their budget. Talk about a buyers’ market!

For years I have complained about the lack of balance. The Division of Forestry is not listening. Combined with their inability to manage financially and their unwillingness to honor the notion that there are special places worth saving, it is past time to speak to the management of the firm, namely the governor and the Legislature. Speak clearly and forcefully because they too dismiss those to whom they report.

–Jeff Marks

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