Restrictions on forestry won't help the state's diseased bats
Share with others:
In her Nov. 26, Perspectives piece ("Pa. Is Failing to Act to Halt Extinction"), Mollie Matteson fails to disclose that any restrictions on forestry or other tree removals will make little difference to Pennsylvania's bat species that are being devastated by white nose syndrome, as this fungal-based disease is killing the bats in great numbers during their period of cave hibernation. There is no research to suggest that white nose syndrome or its spread is linked to forestry activities.
Moreover, the "limiting some logging" being advocated and described by the author could actually include a widespread moratorium on any tree removals from April through November and other year-round forestry restrictions across vast portions of the commonwealth. Adding these restrictions to existing limitations on forestry would indeed cripple the state's logging, lumber and paper production businesses and jeopardize the jobs of tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians.
White nose syndrome is a serious threat that does need to be addressed. Rather than seeking to score political points by attacking the game commission and demonizing certain industries, it would be more productive if the author and her organization worked with those same groups and others on the cause, prevention and treatment of the disease that is actually killing the bats.
A good start would be a call for more aggressive closing of caves to recreational exploration to prevent further unintentional spread of the fungus and white nose syndrome.
The writer is executive director of the Pennsylvania Forest Products Association.
First Published December 5, 2012 12:00 am