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Forest for the Trees



The article "Salmon Outlook: Less Fish, Less Fishing" (March 24) points to the ocean and commercial fishermen looking to make a living in the fishing industry. The article mentions El NiƱo, drought, unproductive ocean conditions, 32 million salmon from hatcheries and the removal of the dams on the Klamath River.

But when we look at the populations of salmon, we must first realize that when they are struggling it is more than just an indication of a species in decline, it is an indication that their habitat is not nearly as healthy as it once was. Water is crucial to the migration of the fish, and a healthy rain forest is the best way to bring water to our mountains and valleys, filling our lakes and rivers.

When I say that nearly 90 percent of our rain forest represents a scab to the face of the earth, I do it as a tree hugger who knows that a 40-year-old redwood tree produces merely a fraction of the moisture a 2,000 year old redwood tree can produce.

It is not well known that the old growth redwood rainforest of Northern California has nearly 10 times the biomass of rainforest in the Congo and Amazon River basins. Including branches leaves and roots, the old growth redwood forest measures 1,780 tons per acre, compared with 185 tons per acre for the tropical rainforest. The largest of the redwoods can release up to 500 gallons of water into its atmosphere each day. As the air cools in the evening, this moisture condenses into fog and protects the forest much like a blanket.

Before dams we didn't need the hatcheries, and before loggers fog was never rare, typically always there. Many factors determine what life on this planet will look like for all of its animals, not just the humans.

John Griffin, McKinleyville


How wonderful to see Daniel Mintz's byline gracing the pages of the North Coast Journal ("Salmon Outlook: Less Fish, Less Fishing"). I look forward to seeing many more stories by the county's pre-eminent freelance journalist in your publication.

Richard Salzman, Arcata

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