I just want to weigh in on the debate over cutting trees to restore native prairie. I notice that many of the people complaining about the cutting of these trees live in subdivisions adjacent to the preserves in question. I assume these folks live in houses made of wood, wood most likely coming from clear-cut forests in the Pacific Northwest. Talk about throwing stones while living in a glass house! While the Pacific Northwest was once covered in majestic evergreen forest; northern Illinois had little native forest and almost no native pine forest. The Rockford-area pine plantations harbor about as much biodiversity as a corn field, and the overcrowded forest choked with underbrush, are a far cry from the natural mix of prairie and open oak savanna native to this part of the state. Illinois once proudly proclaimed itself “The Prairie State,”d24 not “The Pine Plantation State,” nor “The Overgrown Forest State.” I, for one, am proud of our natural heritage and find prairie landscapes unique and beautiful, and applaud any effort to restore this rare and endangered ecosystem.
From the Jan. 18-24, 2012, issue