Kill Some Trees On Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, and in honor of the occasion I’d like to make the admittedly counter-intuitive argument that the Earth would be a better place with a few more of these things:

No, I’m not crazy, and I’ll explain why.

Everyone knows of the disasters unregulated commercial logging is causing in the world’s tropical forests, disasters that are helped along by the frightening efficiency of machines like this monstrosity. Depending on what figure you read, about 1.5 acres of tropical forest disappears every second.

However, while those trees are falling to the saw, residents of the southern plains states are losing literally square mile chunks of native prairie every single day not to development or industrial pollution but – ironically enough – a tree.

But not just any tree. The eastern redcedar is the cockroach of the tree world. This ugly, useless and prolific pox on the landscape isn’t a non-native species like the better-known tamarisk, but with the disappearance of the two primary shapers of the plains landscape – fire and bison – the opportunistic bastards have exploded across the plains.

How bad is the eastern redcedar? I am completely confident that even Joyce Kilmer would take a chainsaw to one.

It completely chokes out native vegetation and wildlife, has almost no commercial value, and once established is damn near impossible to get rid of. The state of Oklahoma alone loses 760 acres of native prairie and riparian area – over one square mile- every single day to the eastern redcedar invasion. That means one square mile with no more quail, no more prairie chickens, no more pheasants, no more anything.

So in honor of Earth Day I say to all the heavy machinery of environmental destruction: The Earth needs you. Just not in the places you’re currently destroying. Leave the rainforest, please. Come to Oklahoma, to Texas, to Kansas. Bring on the tree harvesters, bring on the skidders, the chain saws. Rip, tear, burn, destroy and lay waste to it all. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Earth Day than to kill a few square miles of photosynthetic vermin. — Chad Love