Jonathan Swift, it will be recalled, suggested, in his book titled A Modest Proposal, that the poor should sell their children to the rich, the latter making use of the little tots as food. In a somewhat similar vein, if not quite so outlandishly, I’d like to ask this blog’s subscribers to comment on a simple proposal for the reform of the beleaguered U.S. national forest system:
Why not turn over U.S. national forests to Canadian management?
After all, over 90 percent of Canada’s vast forest lands – almost a billion acres in all — is owned by federal, provincial, or territorial governments. Canadians, moreover, would seem to embrace a strong environmental consciousness. And yet Canada manages to make good use of its forests for timber production and other economic uses. According to a recent estimate, for example, the net value of Canada’s forest products exports – to the U.S., to Europe, and to China and Japan — amount to about $17 billion per year. Somehow, in other words, the Canadians have managed to combine their environmental sensibility with a productive economic life for their forests.
So why then not simply turn over our national forests to Canadian management? We would get a substantial portion of the revenues of course – after all, they’d remain our forests. And, presumably, the Canadian rendering of environmental values would preserve the life and health of our forests.
So, what’s wrong with this modest proposal?