AN article on our forest reserves (Connexion, March) tells that the Dordogne is one of the three most heavily-wooded departments in France – surely, along with our splendid architecture, an attraction that drew so many of us here to live, and what draws so many tourists to visit.
But a meandering drive taken through the back roads of the Dordogne will show that good woodland husbandry is far from the rule. The natural environment is being drastically altered and in many areas destroyed, by devastating clear-cutting of woodlands: the complete felling of all the trees on a piece of land, especially mature oaks.
What is on one day a beautiful drive along a back country road beneath a canopy of ancient trees, is the next a painful passage along a road bordered by devastated and barren fields, pock-marked with badly cut tree stumps, with branches and brush abandoned where they fell, and lined with muddy trenches where the trees have been hauled away. These fields will remain that way until nature, quite a few years later, makes some attempt to reclaim her own.
No attempt is made to clean the land of the debris left after the larger wood has been taken and sold. No attempt will be made at replanting. The woodmen who felled the trees have moved on to another bright prospect, and taken their profits. This is not woodland conservation. This is vandalism for money.
Byrne FONE, Mauzac