How many trees?

BOBNDWOODS bobndwoods at aol.com
Sun Feb 25 06:38:16 EST 1996


On Fri, 23 Feb 1996, dbraun at u.washington.edu writes:

>...the contention that recycling is more vital for reducing waste than
reducing tree >cutting is actually a complex issue that could benefit from
some forest products and >recycling research--- which neither of us have
cited (nor have time to do)....

You are absolutely right, Dave.  Although we may not agree on every point,
I owe you some thanks because your comments have made me think about
issues I have not considered in quite some time.  Many of us who work
outside of an academic setting don't have the benefit of large research
libraries or technical journals.  My opinions are based on experience,
observation, some casual reading, and (hopefully) some objective thought. 
Not that I discount research or citing one's sources; I am all in favor of
that.  But sitting at my home computer in my Kitchen, I could not cite one
thing I have read accurately enough to let you check it out yourself.

>...recycling contributes to the fiber stream, that was what I was trying
to say.  I don't >believe that you have proven your argument either. As to
landfills, we have plenty of >room for them away from population
centers.....

I agree that recycling will reduce harvest pressures some fine day.  It
does already contribute, significantly to the fibre stream.  (I read that
somewhere recently accompanied by some mildly impressive figures).  If
primary forests are in as critical a condition in the PNW as you say (and
I have no doubt they are), I don't believe recycling will have enough
impact on harvest pressures to solve the problem.  Fibre supply is not the
problem in the PNW; it is socio-economical and political pressures that
cause these forests to be in demand.  As to landfills, tell that to the
folks in New York or New Jersey.  This doesn't even consider what burying
our garbage in the ground does to the water supply, or that landfill space
could be better used for fibre production.  Recycling to "save trees" is a
tree hugger's argument, i.e. it is emmotional not rational.

>...I was listing these (three "R's")as contributing factors, and did not
give them >magnitudes.The original post, you may remember, dismissed trees
as a source of >chips/fiber entirely.

Sorry, Dave.  They read like magnitudes.  Yes, the original post was
misleading.  That is the hazard of debating complex issues with sound
bites and rhetoric.  And, I confess, as well, to that crime.

>...As for how to preserve primary forest on public land, the answer is
simple--- just do 
>it.  Public opinion supports this; I suspect that our system of campaign
financing has >a lot to do with why it has not been done.....

The answer to administering public lands is as simple as public opinion is
homogenous.  If PAC money is a driving force behind public land use (and I
have no doubt it is); and this money comes primarily from industry
(granted); then where does industry come by the money?  Consumers expect
low priced products which are produced by workers who want to keep their
jobs in industries owned by shareholders who expect the maximum return on
their investment.  All these people are public and have an opinion.  So,
political decisions are made to subsidize industry with public timber
sales.  I'm not saying this is right or good; just that it is not simple. 
You may not have a stick big enough to beat this mule after November. 
Start looking for carrots.

"We have met the enemy, and they are us!"  --  Pogo.

Bob Miller









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