The debate

Joseph Zorzin redoak at forestmeister.com
Sun Nov 30 19:06:30 EST 1997


Larry Caldwell wrote:

> 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.

Larry, you're living in a fantasy land about this appraisal issue.
You're a good conservative believer in the capitalist system, right?
Capitalism doesn't have any mercy. Something is worth what's it's worth,
not what you THINK it's worth; at least not for appraisal purposes. To
you it may be priceless, but the appraiser has to come up with a value
based on what the forest is worth NOW, not in 20 years. Why can't you
comprehend this? Your thinning investment will increase FUTURE values of
the forest and if you were to sell the property you could try to
convince the buyer of this fact; but at this point in time the trees are
worth what their worth. If you don't like this method, you could get in
a time machine and go back to Soviet Russia, where in theory, they
factored in future values and social considerations; unlike our
wonderful heartless capitalism that doesn't give a dam about your
"feelings" for your forest and how much you invested into it. You want
capitalism, you got capitalism. It's amazing how the biggest proponents
of capitalism, like the stock brokers, cry when the market almost
crashes- for the government to come in save their asses. When the
economy goes your way, despite the fact it may not be going well for all
the poor bastards, then capitalism is great, but if the free market says
your trees are worth what you believe, then blame it on the forester.

> 
> 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 wouldn't dissagree that MANY forestry consultants ought to be sent to
jail for incompetance; but not all. Many do take the long view, and they
personally suffer the consequences of a lower standard of living. But my
conctacts with hundreds of landowners has convinced me that MOST
landowners are the ones taking the short view. If you tell a forester
that you want the long view, then you'll get the long view from him. Ask
foresters for references and go look at their work. And you won't get
any better work from the government foresters. Part of the problem, to
be quite frank is that forestry education in America sucks. Many
forestry schools should be shut down; incompetant teachers and no way
for the students to get hands on experience. And, it's common knowledge
that the smartest students don't usually major in forestry; it tends to
be one of those majors that you flunk into, not out of; and this is due
to the VERY LOW PAY SCALES of the profession; due to the low esteem the
profession gets from brainless politicians and landowners who think they
know so much.


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