logging and environmental problems

Travis Stills tstills at ix.netcom.com
Sat Oct 7 08:04:46 EST 1995


In <44v2b3$82o at mark.ucdavis.edu> Lawrence Lloyd <lllloyd at ucdavis.edu>
writes: 
>
>Unfortunately, you are obviously ignorant of the complex issues 
>surrounding sustainable forestry in America. 

>As for subsidized timber, very few national forests actually show a 
>loss due to the timber sales program, and the vast majority actually 
>returns revenue to the national treasury with reciepts from timber.
>Counties also benifit from timber sales through the 25% fund that 
>returns that percent of timber revenue to local counties, in lieu of 
>property taxes, for schools and roads.

>Lawrence Lloyd
>Professional Timber Faller
>UC Davis Graduate Student, Community Development
>
>
Obviously, you misrepresent the problem of below-cost timber sales in
the national forests. All but a few programs operate at a financial
loss. The timber sale program as a whole does not produce net revenues
to the U.S. Treasury, although, some of the gross reciepts are
deposited in the treasury.

As for payments to counties, 25% of gross reciepts of the timber sale
program are given to counties. It is irrelevant whether the sale is a
loser, money always is paid to the county from gross reciepts.

This creates a perverse incentive for county governments to push for as
much harvesting as possible. Of course, some county governments prefer 
the long-term benefits derived from a responsible stewardship program
that guarantees the health of the forest in perpetuity.

The solution to the perverse incentive is to remove the link between
gross reciepts and payments to counties and replace it with a flat fee
paid in lieu of taxes. (This payment is wholly voluntary on the part of
the Federal Government, it could choose no payment at all.) 

For good references on these problems, see: Wilkinson, Land and
Resource Planning in the National Forests, and O'Toole, Reforming the
Forest Service. 



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