Forest Practices

Joseph Zorzin redoak at
Fri Mar 28 02:03:53 EST 1997

Ron Wenrich wrote:
> OK, we've kicked around ideas that don't work, how about some suggestions
> of what would work.  Then, how do we get them instituted?  I'd give it a
> shot in PA.  I might even know a Representative or two.
> Points to consider:
>         1.  Licensing of foresters
>         2.  Licensing of loggers
>         3.  State involvement
>         4.  Forest management planning
>         5.  Others

As I see it, the quality of logging operations is not a major issue in
the Northeast. The issue of real significance is that too little
forestry occurs at all. In Western Mass., two types of folks own most of
the land.

A. Old time Yankee farmers who think foresters are parasites. Farmers
don't think they need foresters because they know everything about the
B. Wealthy people from the NYC metro area who hire me to get them the
forestry tax break- state Chapter 61 gives a 95% tax break on managed
forest land over 10 acres. Even with this tax break, the horrible mess
made by a previous generation of loggers keeps most of these people

Here in Mass., forester licensing is on the horizon. It will accomplish
nothing. Logger licensing is already here. It accomplishes nothing. The
state is already involved. That accomplishes little. Forest Mgt.
planning is here in spades and accomplishes little. The vast majority of
land around this area remains unmanaged, although most landowners do in
fact get suckered by timber procurement foresters who knock on their
door with promises of a quick fix of money and they do succeed in their
efforts and this form of bad forestry; commercially clearcutting the
land and paying too little for the timber. And lately I see the timber
procurors producing managemet plans under the state forestry tax law;
with no effort by the state to prevent this. It doesn't take a rocket
scientist to see the conflict of interest. But of course there aren't
any rocket scientists in the state forestry agency.

What dissuades more landowners from forestry is that it requires the
long view. Americans don't take the long view about anything, which is
why despite what you see in the news about how great the economy is;
it's really much worse, as American corporations are downsizing the
middle class out of existance while Asia is the new profit zone.

I'm surrounded by millions of acres of private woodland and can barely
make a living. And it's not just me. I'm one of the survivors; most
consultants failed long ago around here; meanwhile countless state and
federal foresters earn a decent living attending each other's meetings
and paper shuffling; essentially doing nothing.

A mindless culture that views land as just another asset instead of
"mother Earth" like the way Native Americans saw it; useless
bureaucracies who are obviously not represented in this forum;
politicians who have lost touch with real working Americans as a result
of the vast corruption that pervades our decadent political system; the
failure of zoning controls in a nation that thinks zoning is communism
resulting in the paving over of millions of acres with more ugly strip
development; the failure of the logging industry to build better logging
equipment than rubber tired skidders, etc., etc., etc.

No wonder being a forestry consultant is almost a hopeless endeavor.
Everything about our society, culture, economics, and politics is
working against us. In the late '60's when I decided to get into the
"environmental field" it looked as if our nation was finally going to
invest in a better environment. Instead it invested trillions in more
weapons, trillions in strip development, trillions in the stock market,
and now trillions in East Asia for the quick buck. Meanwhile, National
Parks are almost destitute and peanuts are invested in good land
management, forestry or otherwise. The total money invested by this
country in quality land management and parks wouldn't buy a paint job on
one aircraft carrier, or would hardly cover the "tips" paid by corporate
America to their hired hands in our legislative bodies.

There is no solution. But in 100 years from now, when we have a billion
people in this country and the entire landscape is paved over with
Wallmart parking lots and golf courses, and the air is unbreathable, and
there are only 2 classes- the ultra rich (1% of the population) and the
ultra poor, a few "leftist intellectuals" will point out that it didn't
have to be this way. But of course nobody will listen to them, everyone
will be busy watching the equivalent of Ophra and the latest equivalent
of the OJ trial and the Super Bowl.
"The ONLY forester's web page in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts".

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