The issue being analyzed is the controversy over the logging in Yellowwood State Forest in Indiana which is considered as an environmental issue. The problem of logging has attracted sharp reactions from various parties who think that the practice has negative consequences to the environment and the ecosystem. The main conflicts involved is logging of trees against the ideals of the State without considering the consequences of the actions. The State Department of Natural Resources sold the rights to log some parts, but there are other interest groups, that sought to derail the process due to illegal marking for logging.
The major stakeholder groups affected by the issue include the scientists, lawmakers, Anonymous group called Night Owls, Paint and Exterior, Indiana State residents, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Scientists urged the governor to stop the scheduled timber sale since the forest is meant to offer visitors a forest experience similar to how they felt a century ago. The Indiana State residents argue that the land belongs to the state and thus for the public. A group called Night Owls, Paint and Exteriors painted additional trees other than those marked for logging to force the Forestry department to redo the work and thus delay the process. The group cited illegal marking of the trees, and hence did not want the process to proceed as scheduled. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was at the center of the saga and claimed to have sold the rights of logging parts of the forest after marking about 1730 trees. The DNR argued that it followed the right procedure in marking the trees for logging and that would continue with the process. The Division of forestry argued to have used timber management practices in promoting forest health and that the revenues obtained from timber sales help to fund the department’s efforts of conservation. The positions taken by each group were the major conflicts among the stakeholders. Lawmakers from both sides planned to propose “legislation to provide strict rules for the management of Indiana’s state forests (Hopkins, 2017).” A bill would be proposed to prohibit the DNR from allowing timber management practices within the area. The policy solution to the problem as proposed by the lawmakers is supported by scientists and the residents who find it helpful in preventing the department of natural resources from authorizing logging of some parts of the forest.
The major differences in the ethical frameworks that lead each stakeholder group to support a different alternative lie in the benefits accrued from their practices for the common good of the majority. The stakeholder who supports the practice of logging argues that they follow timber management practices and even benefits from the revenues obtained. On the contrary, the stakeholders against the issue argue that the forest should be preserved as a natural resource since it’s designated as “backcountry” and meant to offer visitors a forest experience.
Part II: Policy Recommendation
I support the policy solution that aims at setting aside 30% of Indiana’s state forests as ‘old forest area’ and also prevent the Department of Natural Resources from conducting timber management practices in the region. The policy can be effective in addressing the problem of increased authorization of logging practices by the Department of Natural Resources to the highest bidders. I support the policy since it aims at benefiting a large part of the population and also causing happiness to the majority. The Indiana State residents, the Night Owls Group, the scientists, and the lawmakers are all in support of such interventions that can protect the existing natural resources in Indiana and especially the forest. As Mill explains it, “when making decisions and acting as a society, there is need to consider what makes the largest amount of people to find happiness and the most positivity and success from the decision of the majority (Mill, 1863).” The concerns raised by the division of Forestry of following forest management practices in authorizing the logging process is valid, but only serves the interest of a small group of people. The vast majorities are unhappy about the practice and demand that the forest is preserved as a natural resource. Based on Mill’s Utilitarianism principle, there is need to focus on the decision that benefits the majority, and in this case is stopping the continued logging in the forest. Other than serving the interests of the majority, the policy ensures that both the environment and the human population benefit.
Another principle applicable to the policy is that of “consistency in moral reasoning that ought to be near the heart of reflection” (Garvey, 99).The principle explains the need for consistency in applying moral principles and also having a moment of reflection in the decisions made. There ought to be equal consideration of all the underlying issues and then apply moral principles in all the circumstances in the same way. Based on the principle, the policy of passing a regulation to protect 30% of the State’s forests includes a consideration of the interests of all the parties involved and finding a solution that does not hurt the environment and also the human population. This principle requires consistency in particular practices and hence would be appropriate to implement the policy in full without favoring some quotas.
The solution is the best one morally speaking since it benefits both the humans and the environment. If there is continued logging in the forest, the health of the forest would be the priority as claimed by the Forest division, but at the same time would be depleting off some natural resources that benefit man. Also, continued logging would not auger well with the scientists, some lawmakers, Indiana residents, and some activist groups who are concerned about the future state of the region. In consideration of all the underlying issues, the policy is a good solution to the problem even from a moral point of view.
I rejected the other alternatives to the solution since they do not seem to serve the interests of all the involved parties and also do not have a moral position. Logging of forest cover for revenues is not a moral issue since there can be other sources of funding to the department. However, logging the forest cover progressively may have irreversible negative impacts on the society and the State at large.
Part III: Personal Reflection
My stance on the issue before I started writing the paper about it was that the Indiana Department of Natural Resources acted in the best interests of ensuring the health of the forest considering that their practices align with the forest management practices. I think that my personal feelings, biases, and attitudes affected my ability to present the different perspectives fairly because they influenced my approach to the issue. On the policy issue, I had to change my perception on the issue to align with the best solution that has a moral basis. I realized that it was challenging to explain some ideas into details since I could not effectively break away from my initial thoughts. The presentation of different perspectives fairly requires neutrality in approaching the issue, but having taken a position before writing the paper, I think that I could argue charitably as expected. In consideration of all the different perspectives, my final position on the issue changed since I acquired relevant and compelling ideas as to why logging should stop at Indiana Yellowwood State Forest. Based on the information gathered on the environmental, ethical principles, my inference, and also the concerns raised by different stakeholders; I had to change my take on the issue completely. My environmental ethic from the past paper helped to influence my final position on the issue since I had comprehensibly read on the ideas raised and also their application. Of interest was the utilitarian principle and consistency in moral reasoning that formed the basis of my discussion and the final position on the issue.
Bishop et al. “Letter to Governor Holcomb from scientists against logging in Yellowwood,”
Bowman and Hopkins, “What We Know: What’s Next for Logging of Yellowwood Forest and $150k Offer to Preserve It.”
Bowman, “Anonymous Group Illegally Marks Trees in Yellowwood in Attempt to Delay Logging.”
Garvey, James. “Climate change and moral outrage.” Human Ecology Review (2010): 96-101.
Hopkins, Emily. “Yellowwood protests:” How lawmakers are taking aim at logging in Indiana forests, 2017. Retrieved on 6th December 2017.
Mill, John Stuart. Utilitarianism. London: Parker, Son and Bourn, 1863.
Carolyn Morgan is the author of this paper. A senior editor at MeldaResearch.Com in nursing research paper writing service California. If you need a similar paper you can place your order from nursing paper writing services Pennsylvania.