The debate

Larry Caldwell larryc at
Sun Nov 30 03:59:21 EST 1997

In article <65gn6m$g684 at>, "kat" <kats at> wrote:

> i sure hope you don't own much land, pal !!!  Attitudes like yours are what
> made the amazon what it is!!!  you have a really good point - it is your
> land to do with as you choose - no forester can tell you what to do - screw
> it up as much as you like.  It  "ain't"  their land, but they give a shit
> more than you do.  And they know way more than you.  So, you can be proud of
> yourself for being an  IGNORANT landowner - cheers!!!

The problem is, kat, that foresters know a lot about industrial silviculture
but very little about woodland management.  Here is an example for you.

Hire a forester to do an appraisal of a woodlot.  Then do a precommercial
thinning.  Then hire a forester to do an appraisal of the woodlot.  

Surprise!  You can put all that work into a piece of property, and
if the commercial age trees don't change, the appraisal won't change
either.  Hiring a professional forester is a guaranteed recipe for
getting screwed.  At least if you really work your land it is.

A consulting forester is probably pretty good at cutting down trees and
selling them for you.  They can even cruise it and sell your stumpage.
Most of them don't take the long view.  There's no point, they won't be
around to see the results.

I have learned some things from professional foresters:

1)  Kill the brush before you plant little trees, because any herbicide 
    that kills brush will probably kill your little trees too.

2)  Kill the grass for 3 feet around each little tree for the first 2 years.

3)  You can slash and squirt undesirable trees for about half what it costs
    for an aerial spray job, you can do it yourself in your spare time, and
    it's neater.

4)  Don't log when the market is down.

5)  It's stupid to grow defective trees.  

These are the things I learned from farmers:

1)  Plant more trees.  Industrial outfits underplant by 50%.  

2)  Fertilize closed canopy.  A good shot of nitrogen will give increased
    growth for 5 to 8 years.

3)  Don't log when the market is down.

4)  Hire an accountant that knows timber taxes before you ever buy a
    piece of ground, but it's never too late until you start making

5)  You can get five times the price for firewood than you can get for
    pulp wood.  A woodcutter working on shares can be a good deal for
    the landowner.

6)  Multiple use, intercropping and small annual harvests are the only
    way to get a sustained income off of forest land.

6)  As far as possible, do your own work.
7)  A forester is just a hired hand.  You tell them what to do, not
    the other way around.

> Damn!!  it sounds like you know a wee bit more about pc's than trees -
> here's a deal for you - you mind the pc's, we'll mind the forests....

I got an even better deal for you.  You mind your forests.  In the 
meantime, don't call us, we'll call you.

-- Larry

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