21 October 2007

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “New Battle of Logging vs. Spotted Owls Looms in West” (news article, Oct. 18):

Saving old growth forest and spotted owls is wise for many reasons, including controlling infectious diseases. Owls, kestrels and hawks are guardians of the fields. Just as lacewings and dragonflies keep mosquito populations in check, birds of prey eat rodents that can carry Lyme-bearing ticks, hantavirus, plague bacteria and other ills.

Preservation of nature is not just an abstract aesthetic issue; our future depends on survival of things that fit.

Paul R. Epstein, M.D.
Boston, Oct. 18, 2007
The writer is associate director, Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School.

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