SAF is a big help

Larry Caldwell larryc at
Sat Jan 25 03:26:30 EST 1997

In article <5c635q$ka4 at>, 
jdvona at (John Vona ) wrote:

> of the environmental movement.  I assure you that there are foresters
> of all stripe but many are very concerned with issues surrounding
> sustainability and the short term focus of the forest products
> industry, and would like to do more to empower themselves in their
> organization but its difficult when our activities are dictated by
> accountant who are more concerned with cash flow.  So what should the
> working forester do Mr. Fox?  Quit our jobs in protest?  Go into our
> resource manager's office and demand a reduction in our 100 MMBF cut?
> It's easier said then done.   

It's true that many companies don't have much technical ability at the
upper management level.  There's something elegantly simple about
clearcutting.  Mill what you can, chip what you can, and burn the slash.
Replant and check back every decade or so to see how things are going.
You don't have to be much of a forester to understand that.  

I live in Douglas County, Oregon.  This is timber country.  A couple years
ago, someone calculated the cash flow from mushroom pickers on forest
land.  It turned out that the value of the mushrooms out of a forest
equalled the value of the timber, over the lifetime of the forest.  These
are primarily mycorrizal mushroom species like boletus edulis and
cantharellus cibarius.  Mushroom pickers now have to buy permits from
the feds, and some private timber companies have started running crews to
harvest their own mushrooms.  

I'm sure I don't have to explain mycorrhizal association to professional
foresters.  Taking a food crop off of timberland implies care with
chemical applications.  Getting an annual cash flow off a forest changes
the harvest equation.  You may find the accountants to be your allies in
lengthening the harvest cycle and preserving the ecosystem.  When they
find out that they can gross a thousand dollars an acre every year just
from mushrooms, and the mushrooms are actually good for the trees, the
little dollar signs will start to flash.

Of course, this requires expanding the management horizons a bit.  :)

I've found accountants to be incredibly useful members of management
teams.  If there's a profit to be made they can tell you where it is.
If you need to spend money they can tell you if it's going to be a winner.
Take an accountant to lunch.  Buy him a beer.  If you hit a management 
meeting with bean counter support, upper management will see two hired
experts from different fields supporting the same proposal, and will
probably make the logical conclusion.

That's how you change the corporate culture.  Afterwards, you can toss
in public relations and social awareness.  If natural forests and vital
ecosystems have a value to our culture, you need to find that value.

-- Larry

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