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Rain forest ownership

In the Opinion page article "How Best to Save the Trees," April 3, the author wants to sell Malaysia's remaining rain forests to private interest. The author must have foreign timber corporations in mind. Who else could afford to buy?

The author expects these new private owners to exercise good stewardship of their forests or plantations, deforesting and reforesting on a sustainable basis. She believes that protection of timber resources and of the rich natural diversity needed for biological and medical research will result.

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The only people trained to exercise wise stewardship of a natural forest and qualified to own it are the indigenous dwellers who live off it and whose beliefs honor it. Alas, they rarely have money or political clout. Kurt Volckmar, Garberville, Calif.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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