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Old-growth forests are ancient groves of trees that are nearly untouched by mankind.

Most of the
old-growth forests in our country are in the northwest, but 90% have been clear-cut. Elsewhere, oldgrowth forests are protected. However, in Washington State, many are in danger of being destroyed.
These beautiful environments need to be protected to preserve animal species and help the environment,
regardless of the large amounts of timber they yield.
Many species of animals such as spotted owls that live in old-growth forests cannot exist
anywhere else, and are dying out as their homes are destroyed. A large campaign in Oregon resulted in the
protection of many forests in which these endangered owls nest, but has been gradually overturned as
more logging companies demand the wood of the forests for their own profit. Though forests are required
to be replanted after being clear-cut, a forest takes hundreds of years to be considered old-growth. Spotted
owls are not the only animals that need these forests to survive. Old-growth forests provide a perfect
balance of organisms, and many species have evolved to live alongside the others in their home, from the
bacteria and fungus in the soil to the trees towering over everything else. When these beautiful places are
clear-cut, this delicate cycle of life is broken. All old-growth forests should be protected in order to
preserve species.
Old-growth forests help not only animals, but the entire world. The increasing amounts of carbon
dioxide in the atmosphere can be dealt with the planting of trees. Trees, and plants in general, go through
photosynthesis, which takes in carbon dioxide and puts out oxygen. In addition, bad forest management
and deforestation make up 15% of global emissions. The protection of all old-growth forests, as well as
lessened clear-cutting in general, would go very far in preventing climate change and saving our
environment. Jonathan Jelen of Oregon Wild agrees, saying a growing body of evidence is showing the
critical role that forests- and old-growth forests in particular- can play in mitigating climate change. The
protection of these forests in Washington would be another step towards saving the earth and stopping
global warning.

For many people, these reasons arent enough. Old-growth forests contain large amounts of
valuable timber, and they have been logged for years in our state. However, these woodlands are valuable
resources in more than one way. According to an article on scientificamerican.com, old-growth forests
provide some of the cleanest drinking water in the world, [as well as] critical salmon and wildlife
habitats. Once a resource like this is chopped down for timber, there is no way to get it back. Only 6%
of this countrys forests are old-growth, and most of that 6% is located in the Pacific Northwest. Our state
contains many old-growth forests, and logging companies use this to justify the clear-cutting of forests
that have not been protected by national parks. Just because there are many acres of these ancient forests
in our state doesnt mean that we can destroy them for mere wood. In addition, it is not in the interest of
the company to log old-growth forests. These woods contain the tallest and strongest trees, which should
be left to pass on their good genes to the next generation. The logging of old-growth forests is unjustified
and benefits no one in the long run.
Even though Washington contains a large number of old-growth forests, this is not enough to save
the spotted owls, or to halt global warming. We cant continue logging these forests, as that would only
make the problems we are facing worse. We must preserve the old-growth forests of Washington, and
keep them undisturbed by humans, regardless of demand for wood. These ancient groves present a hope
for the future of our planet, and logging them is incredibly wasteful and foolish.
SOURCES
forestry.about.com/od/forestresourceinformation/i/clearcut_issue_2.htm
forestry.about.com/a/clear_cut.htm
www.wvu.edu/nagexten/forestry/clrcut.htm
scientificamerican.com/article/are-old-growth-forests/