Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Land Ownership Requires Responsibility

Landownership comes with a great deal of responsibility. Here in Western Washington, that may include taxes and a solid relationship with neighbors. Many landowners are absentee caretakers. Perhaps it is recreational land, but in many cases, it is pure speculation. Ground is purchased for the purpose of eventual profit.

The dark green plants you see are young Scotch broom that can be removed in a few hours. This land was logged in 2006, but the Illinois landowner has agreed to a program that will allow high school students to remove the plants for a donation.

Such is the case for one landowner just north of Winlock. The ground is owned by a gentleman that lives in Kelso. The property was logged in late 2006 and now ripe with noxious weeds like Canadian Thistle and Scotch broom. It is part of my job to notify and educate property owners about the problems they face with a lack of maintenance. In this land of one of the most productive climates in the world. I even try to match them up with local F.F.A. Clubs that can help them out for a donation. Small solutions for a small problem.

Every day, I pass this one piece of property, knowing full well, without some maintenance, it will be a Scotch broom infested biological trash heap. That will contribute to an extreme fire danger.

Here, mature Scotch broom presents a fire danger due to resins within the plant not to mention the biological issues of competition. Few native species can compete in these kinds of stands.

Sure, I barely respect private property rights. Logging and harvesting of timber is a necessary evil, but the maintenance and care of the land should take precedence over profit. If there is not going to be any profit, than perhaps there shouldn’t be any logging.

I have worked with numerous landowners to solve simple, long term problems, but it is irresponsible for a landowner to take care our the dirt that is under everyone’s feet.

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