EDITOR: I am sorry to hear that dead firs are being cut because they are an "eyesore" ("Annadel's dead trees coming down," Thursday). I agree with and applaud the resource managers at Annadel State Park for protecting the biodiversity of the forest. Oak forest is our most productive forest type for wildlife, and fir is one of our most invasive species. At Fountaingrove II, the Open Space Maintenance Association has been removing the invasive Douglas fir for years. However, because both living and dead firs are highly flammable and greatly increase the fire risk to the forest and the surrounding developed areas, the association has been managing fir to reduce the fire hazard, increase habitat for raptors (hawks, owls and, potentially, eagles), provide food for woodpeckers and other bark-working birds and provide homes for cavity-nesting birds.
To accomplish this, they remove the branch ends and foliage, while keeping large branch stubs for raptor roosts. They chip the debris to provide mulch, which increases forest health and raises the live fuel moisture (fire resistance).
Because we cannot afford to allow periodic fire to manage our forests, we must manage them ourselves both for fire safety and biodiversity. Fountaingrove II has been doing an exemplary job of both.