The debate

Joseph Zorzin redoak at forestmeister.com
Sat Nov 15 06:25:05 EST 1997


Larry Caldwell wrote:

(much edited out)

> I've had logging operations on both sides of my property in the last
> couple years.  The logger to the south, Jay Schartz, did one hell of
> a job of logging.  He took around 50 truckloads of Doug Fir off of
> a steep, difficult site, plus a quantity of hardwoods for the pulp
> market.  He left a nice stocking of fir, well distributed and not
> damaged by the logging process.  He left wildlife habitat trees like
> snags for raptor nests, and logged around flying squirrel colonies
> that are still doing fine two years later.  He water barred all the
> skid roads, seeded annual ryegrass on erosion-prone slopes, and
> interplanted seedlings in clear patches.

> 
> The operation to the north got the first logger fired, and the second
> cut all the dead snags on the top of the ridge, displacing at least a
> dozen raptor nests during the nesting season.  I can't even figure out
> why he cut them, since it's doubtful they'd make a chip cull.  For
> libel reasons I won't mention any names there, but if you're looking
> for a logger, hire Jay.

But Larry, you don't mention any of these properties having FORESTERS
involved. The landowner shouldn't be hiring a logger, he should be
hiring a talented forestry consultant!!!! Then the consultant will find
a good logger; that's what you hire the consultant for. Actually, first
the consultant should mark every single tree to be harvested, lay out
the skid roads, write your contract, write the appopriate reports to the
state forestry agencies, and supervise the harvest. Any landowner too
cheap to hire a consultant, I hope his land all erodes away! Here, I
have seen countless really bad logging jobs on land owned by such cheap
landowners. I could have gotten those landowners twice the money, left
twice as many good trees, roads repaired, etc. and I could have made a
good fee doing it.

> 
> 2)  OK Steve, foresters should be praising the good loggers to the skies.
>     You can't badmouth the lousy ones, but nobody can force you to give
>     them a reference, or even keep them on your mailing lists.  Owners
>     who are looking for a logger should be told which operators leave
>     a site in good condition.
> 

Forget the issue of the loggers. The issue is the FORESTER. Almost ANY
logger, despite his reputation, will do a VERY GOOD JOB, under the
direction of a good forester. That's a fact. Around here, most loggers
did terrible work up until about 20 years ago. Now those same people do
mostly good work when a consultant is involved. Few loggers have the
education and skill to really do a good job without a forester. The job
might look good, but it's probably not good silviculture. Most loggers
even those with the worse reputation really want to do a good job; but
they need direction. Then we have those landowners who consider
themselves foresters. They can be the worse people to manage a timber
sale. Here, one old Yankee farmer hired me to prepare his state forestry
tax management plan to get his 95% real estate tax reduction. Then he
managed his own timber sale. Didn't want to pay a forester a fee. Boy,
did he get ripped off and his forest was raped. Screw'em I said; too
stupid to hire a forester. And the idiotic state forestry agency let
this happen. Brainless.

> 
> I see the exact same problem in forest management.  The typical logging
> contractor learned his trade in 1963, and doesn't see any reason to
> change.  Like the building contractors, they see specs as an impediment
> to the work, not a guideline to the finished product.  In the worst case,
> they define their finished product as logs, and have no concern at all
> for the site.

Nobody likes to change. But loggers are contractors. They do what they
must do according to the contract. Get a good forester to prepare a
timber sale and write a good contract and almost any logger can do a
good job under that contract, especially with a hefty bond posted and
supervison by the forester.

I repeat, the logger is NOT the issue. The forester is the issue. Wake
up landowners and see the light. <G>

> 
> 3)  Foresters should require a schedule of values for site work and
>     restoration, and require mill payments to be held in escrow until
>     the site specs are satisfied.  Site restoration should be a part
>     of sale monitoring.
> 

When I sell timber, the timber buyer pays 100% up front plus a cash
performance bond held by me. I marked the trees, I lay out the skid
roads, prepare the contract, hold the bond, supervise the work, coddle
the forestry bureaucrat making him feel like he's part of the equation
even though it's not true, and get RESULTS. The timber buyer DOESN'T get
his bond back until everything is done to my satisfaction.

What really is impossible to understand is why state governments don't
MANDATE licensed foresters on logging jobs. Then if the job goes bad,
it's the forester's fault and he/she can lose his/her license.

Joe



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