I went to the most eye-opening dinner Tuesday night, put on by the Nature Conservancy.
The subject was reforestation, which I learned can mean forest thinning, cutting back the dense overgrowth in the forest to help prevent the superfires we have seen in the last 10 years.
I learned some pretty interesting stuff. First, Arizona has lost 25 percent of its Ponderosa pine forests in the last 10 years.
Second, it would have cost $5 million dollars to thin the forest in the area of the Schultz fire in Flagstaff. The cost to fight it, $150 million.
Third, those smaller trees clogging up the forest are also draining the groundwater. They use up what they need and leave the ground drier than it was.
The speaker described those little trees as tiny straws, draining the ground of that precious rainwater.
Flagstaff got 35 inches of snow this winter. It normally gets more than 100.
The foliage on the trees up there is sometimes so thick that the snow never reaches the ground.
That compounds the fire problem and we are seeing the fires in this decade grow so fast and burn so hot that firefighters can do nothing but watch.
The Nature Conservancy wants to work on the quality of forests and the organization wants to start here in Arizona.
Imagine not only having an impact on our groundwater but saving millions of dollars in firefighting as well.
It’s a no brainer.
Go to nature.org/Arizona.
Pat Graham is the director for the Nature Conservancy chapter in Arizona. He said, “Forests are the lungs of our planet.”
Find out how we can save our forests and millions of dollars at the same time. Go to nature.org/Arizona and learn more.