Dear Editor,

As an ecological scientist with 45 years of experience in helping to solve major environmental problems, I have conducted numerous research projects in New Jersey and across the country, earning my Ph.D. from Rutgers University.

My research has repeatedly shown that New Jersey Audubon and the state Department of Environmental Protection are on the right track in advocating for reforestation of the Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area.

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It is well known that for the conservation of nature, there needs to be representation of all stages of ecological succession, which is what this plan ensures for Sparta Mountain.

It is baffling to me, as a scientist, that some so-called environmentalists can consider this plan anything other than that what it is: A time-tested program to create young forests in an older habitat, while creating habitats for species that are becoming endangered in northern New Jersey.

We all know about the tremendous over-development that New Jersey has experienced in the past 50 years. We must do all we can to preserve our remaining resources, which is why I am a strong supporter of New Jersey Audubon and this critical plan for Sparta Mountain.

Daniel B. Botkin, Ph.D,

Adjunct Professor of Biology

University of Miami

Coral Gables, Fl.