BELOW-COST TIMBER SALES

Obie Willlingham orw at nando.net
Thu Apr 27 05:23:56 EST 1995


I can speak only about the US forest of the southeast, particularly NC. 
Most of these forest were clear cut by narrow gauge rails about the turn   
of the century.  These lands were at that time, owned primarily by lumber   
cmpanies with a cutout-getout policy.  Very little effort was used to   
reforest these vast cutovers.  The majority of the forests regenerated   
back to low-value specis.   
 
After the Weeks Law of 1911( i think thats the right date)  These   
lumbercompanies gladly sold or gave these cutover holdings to the US to   
form some the first Nationl Forests in the east.  What we as citizens and   
owners of thess forest got were forest with high potencial but low value   
trees.  To maximize these sites these low value threes must be harvested   
and these areas regenerated(both naturally and artificially)to more high   
value trees.  This is just good stewardship of our resources!  However,   
this doesnot mean that we should repeat the extreme cutting that took   
place in the past. 
 
The major cost of these below-cost timber sales is road contruction and   
maintenance.  The total cost of each of these roads are charged to the   
firest timber sale for which the road was constructed.  Other uses of   
these roads are free. (ie recreation, hunting etc.) 
 
One must keep in persective the time line in forest management.  These   
areas that are now regenerated will at some point in the future benefit   
from these below-cost sales of today.  The transportation system will   
already be inplace and the value of the product will be of hiher value. 
 
Another thought in closing.  Why choose only below-cost sales?  The   
primary function of the Forest Manager of Public land should be good   
stewwardship and wise use of the resources entrusted to him/her.  If   
profit were the only objective of the publice manager, then we need to   
look at the below-cost recreational use of the public forests too! 
 
No I am not employed by the US Forest Service.  I am a forester that has   
been practicing forestry over thirty year.  I still don't have it right   
yet!  But I am just beginning to understand that time line involved.  
 
Good luck on your paper.  But for the sake of our future forests, I hope   
you loose this argument! 
 
Obie




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