Over at the very fine Volokh Conspiracy, Todd Zywicki blogs about the reforestation of Vermont. Look, judging by what I do for a living, nobody's going to put me in the Greenpeace camp. But I giggle at conservatives that attempt to support deforestation, especially of old growth ecosystems, about the fact that the US may have more forest now than in the 1800s. Of course, I'm not sure if Mr. Zywicki is trying to make that argument, though he seems to imply it, but the instant factoid ignores a couple of things: First, Vermont is a teeny, tiny speck of a state, nevermind Phish and Ben and Jerry's. Second, Vermont's agricultural industry isn't exactly the same as that of the Midwest, or even the south and the far west.
Moreover, the bigger argument out west implies that replacing 100 year-old trees with saplings is an even trade. Of course it isn't. It's more like tearing down the Biltmore Estate, replacing it with a neighborhood of tract homes and arguing that you have more houses than when you started. The conservatives just don't get this one. Loss of old growth habitat is devastating for the local and regional ecosystem and cannot be replaced for hundreds of years (quite literally). Saplings just don't cut it.