HomeEnvironmentLETTER TO THE EDITOR: Trees are Essential Part of Equation

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Trees are Essential Part of Equation


Westford Climate Action
Marian Harman
Susan Thomas

Did you know about the plan to do logging at the Stony Brook Conservation Land (East Boston Camps)? The Conservation Commission’s logging plan calls for heavy thinning of most of the forest and for clear-cutting of at least twelve acres. The plan will be presented and may be voted on at the Conservation Commission’s meeting on September 22, 7:35 p.m.  We urge residents who may have concerns about this to attend the meeting. If you cannot attend, we urge you to write a letter to the Commission with your concerns.

It is unclear to us why this drastic activity is planned. The plan states that the logging would attract more diversity of birds to the land. But we have 15 years of data on the bird sightings at East Boston Camps, and there is already great diversity. The preliminary list notes 93 different species that have been documented there–all the species that should be there.

Since this plan was written, thinking about forest management has changed at the Commonwealth and Town level. The Commonwealth has passed a sweeping climate change law which asks all towns to commit to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. Climate change has become a primary concern in Westford. We know that leaving trees alone to perform  their natural processes of growing, is the only method that can take carbon out of the atmosphere. Trees begin doing their best job of sequestering carbon starting at age 50 or 60 years.

The forest at East Boston Camps is about the age at which it is doing the most work to help us to control the amount of carbon in our atmosphere. Cutting down older trees to allow younger ones to grow, or even worse, cutting down older trees to make a field would be taking our climate in exactly the wrong direction.

The Clean Energy and Sustainability Committee is drafting Westford’s Roadmap to 2050 in response to the Town’s resolution to achieve net zero by 2050.  Massachusetts experts agree that retaining as many trees as possible is essential to meeting this goal.  We will not meet net zero in Westford solely by reducing emissions.  Trees, and the carbon they sequester, are an essential part of the equation.