Tongass National Forest (justification for mass destruction)

Bruce Wilkey bwilkey at bellsouth.net
Sun Apr 27 11:23:30 EST 1997


Larry Caldwell wrote:
> 
> In article <ifjed.4525.3355318A at nmsua.nmsu.edu>,
> ifjed at nmsua.nmsu.edu (Jethro Bodine) wrote:
> 
> > >I've just returned from Ketchican where I was looking at used equipment
> > >from the recently closed pulp mill.  Why is this mill closed?  Why was the
> > >fibre resource withdrawn?  What stable non-seasonal employment will be
> > >available in the town?  Does anyone other than Alaskans care about the
> > >human consequences of alienating this forest land?
> 
> Louisiana-Pacific's contract with the feds expired.  I don't know what the
> current status of the mill is, but pulp prices worldwide are in the
> dumpster right now, and paper stocks are sky high.  That was the last
> place in North America where old growth was being cut for pulp, and
> the resource is just too rare to justify that sort of use any more.
> 
> In the absence of sustained yield management, timber will always be
> a temporary job.
> 
> > Fortunately some people do care about the consequences, i.e, the real
> > consequences.  Unsustainable clearcut logging on a massive scale and
> > destruction of the salmon runs is too high a price to pay (these are
> > just a few of the prices to be paid).  This isn't, by the way, one of those
> > Japanese-owned mills to which the Forest Service is literally giving away
> > our forest resources for a song, is it?
> 
> The only thing you said here that made any sense was "unsustainable."
> Clearcutting is a management tool just like any other.  Selective harvest
> has its own drawbacks in disease propagation, mechanical damage, and
> genetic selection for the weakest trees.  Poorly done selective harvest
> is referred to as "creaming," and is a dirty word among forest managers.
> 
> Federal timber cannot be exported before it is milled.  Ownership of any
> of the public timber corporations is independent of their location.  Lots
> of Louisiana Pacific stock is owned by Japanese, lots of Mitsubishi stock
> is owned by Americans.
> 
> Resources have the value that someone will pay for them.  Not so long ago,
> people were chopping down old growth and burning it where it fell.  No
> one ever considered replanting a logged over tract.  LP moved in and
> provided a market for a resource nobody wanted.
> 
> I don't know about salmon runs in the area, but know that Alaskan salmon
> runs are the only ones that are still healthy.  The rivers in Alaska
> haven't been dammed for hydro projects, so there is nothing keeping the
> fish from reaching the headwaters.  If you really want to help the salmon
> runs, stop using electricity and eating vegetables.  People don't want to
> hear that, but it's really city streetlights that are killing off the
> salmon, not loggers.
> 
> -- Larry



So sorry, Larry ... while our culture of consumption may be the ultimate
culprit driving our seemingly blind rush toward oblivion, for the Salmon
the denuded mountains, logged streamsides and silted shoals rebut your
comment most emphatically.  The word's out on the street, clearcutting
sucks.
-- 



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