WHOPPERS on logging

Robert W. Messenger Robert_W._Messenger at nyforest.edu
Fri Feb 16 22:38:12 EST 1996


Just a couple of opinions regarding this ongoing debate (quite a barn burner
at that).  

There seems to be a lot of generalization going on, most importantly in
regard to foresters and forest industry representatives.  I agree that the
Pacific Northwest has some major problems regarding the management of the
remaining old growth resource.  Not all of this destruction is being wrought
by foresters, however.  Witness the example of Headwaters Forest, in
northwest California.  Owned by the Pacific Lumber Company since the 1940's,
Headwaters' 3000 acres were managed using selective cutting and
sustained-yield practices.  Pacific Lumber had discontinued any use of
clearcutting in the 1920's.  Not only was this sound forest management, it
was sound business management, since the resource that Pacific had by the
1980's was close to a monopoly on the prime timber that yields the tight
grained lumber cut from upper logs of old, slow growing redwoods.  In 1985,
however, a Texas businessman by the name of Charles Hurwitz (with backing
from Michael Milken) took over the company.  Almost immediately, mill shifts
were increased, and clearcutting was re-instated as the main "management"
practice.

Don't tell me foresters are the only ones wasting resources.

Watching how the science of forestry has and continues to evolve, one notices
that we constantly examine our practices and ideas.  Forestry is a relatively
young science, dating back no more than a couple centuries.  Ecosystem
management, involving "cross-disciplinary cooperation" with wildlife experts
and other resource managers, is quickly being embraced by the forestry
community.  

As was stated in at least one of the earlier responses, we are a wood using
society.  There would be no financial incentive for the clearcutting of any
forest were it not for the demands generated by the consumers.  Perhaps the
most effective means of protecting our resources is to educate those who are
the ultimate end users of them.
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